Dr. Albert Okunade invited to present at the AEA annual meeting

For release:  August 28, 2017

Dr. Albert Okunade, George Johnson Research Fellow and professor in the Department of Economics, has been invited to present at the upcoming annual meeting of The American Economic Association (AEA) in Philadelphia, PA. He will be discussing his paper entitled, "Gender-specific cancer survivorship and labor market attachments: New evidence from 2008-2014 MEPS data." Dr. Okunade coauthored this paper with Reshad Osmani, Fulbright Scholar, and current FCBE Ph.D. student. Their paper competed successfully among the hundreds of individual papers submitted for consideration by economists worldwide. The AEA is the world's leading professional association of academic economists.

Cancers are a major cause of morbidities amongst the population of the United States. Rising cancer survival rates and retirements at older ages improve the probability of labor market attachments for cancer survivors. This study uses the nationally representative U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) longitudinal data waves, for the 2008 – 2014 period, and the correlated random effects and over-dispersion models that address the potential endogeneity of cancer in the labor market outcome equations. Separate models are fitted for gender-specific sub-samples of the cancer survivors. The authors detected substantial differences between male and female labor market outcomes. The robust estimates confirm that gender-specific cancers adversely affect the likelihood of employment for men and women. Conditional on employment, the survivors work in excess of about three hours weekly although the hourly wage rate had not changed significantly. Additionally, the empirical results indicated that cancer survivorship significantly increases the working days lost for women but not for men. The annual total cost of workplace absenteeism for the employed male and female cancer survivors is 15 billion dollars. The authors' analysis on the labor market presence of cancer survivors should motivate future work on the rising population of other chronic disease sufferers in the U.S. and elsewhere.