Employment, Aging and Disease in India

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Paper Abstract: 
The literature on the associations between NCDs and disabilities, and loss of employment in India is patchy and sparse. Although insightful, these studies are long on economic losses through high out of pocket expenditure (OOP) and cutbacks in non-medical expenditure, but they are short on employment losses. Besides, most are based on not-so-recent data. The present study seeks to fill these gaps using a nation-wide panel survey, the India Human Development Survey 2015, that covers the period between 2005-2012. A state-of-art econometric analysis confirms that substantial employment losses are associated with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure (NCDs) and disabilities (or limitations in carrying out ADL) with appropriate controls. The economic burden of NCDs is already enormous and is set to grow rapidly. Scaling-up the prevention and control of NCDs is very low cost compared to this burden, and would provide substantial returns to health and productivity. Prevention of NCDs should be thus a major priority for India. Health and labour market policies have considerable potential for mitigating the detrimental labour market impacts of ill-health, and thus enable better lives and a more inclusive economy.