How do cardiovascular diseases harm labor force participation? Evidence of nationally representative survey data from Japan, a super-aged society

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Objective To evaluate how cardiovascular diseases harm labor force participation (LFP) among the Japanese population and verify the validity of plasma biomarkers as instrumental variables of cardiovascular diseases after adjusting for a broad set of confounders including dietary intake. Design Using nationally representative repeated cross-sectional surveys in Japan, the Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions and National Health and Nutrition Survey, with plasma biomarkers as instrumental variables for quasi-randomization. Setting Onset of cardiovascular diseases in those receiving regular treatment for hypertension, intracerebral hemorrhage, intracerebral infarction, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, or other types of cardiovascular diseases. Participants A total of 65,615 persons aged ≥ 20 years (35,037 women and 30,578 men) who completed a survey conducted every three years from 1995 through 2013. Main outcome measures Respondent employment and weekly working hours during each survey year. Results Cardiovascular diseases significantly and remarkably reduced the probability of working by 15.4% (95% CI: -30.6% to -0.2%). The reduction in working probability was detected for women only. Respondents aged ≥ 40 years were less likely to work once diagnosed and the reduction was enlarged for those aged ≥ 65 years, while those aged < 40 years appeared to be unaffected. Probability of engaging in manual labor significantly decreased once diagnosed; however, no impact was found for cognitive occupations. Among employed respondents, the adverse effects of cardiovascular diseases decreased working hours by five hours per week. Validity of the biomarker instrumental variables was generally verified. Conclusions A vicious circle is suggested between LFP and unfavorable health. However, the effects vary across age, sex, and occupation type, even after adjusting for causal effects, which could cause a downward bias in LFP impact. Attributes cardiovascular disease, labor force participation, instrumental variable method as quasi-randomization, plasma biomarker, Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions, National Health and Nutrition Survey.




Fu, R., Noguchi, H., Kaneko, S., Kawamura, A., Kang, C., Takahashi, H., & Tamiya, N. (2019). How do cardiovascular diseases harm labor force participation? Evidence of nationally representative survey data from Japan, a super-aged society. PLoS ONE. Public Library of Science.

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