The economics of grief

Gerard Van den Berg, Johan Vikstrom, Petter Lundborg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
425 Downloads (Pure)


We study the short-run and long-run economic impact of one of the largest losses that an individual can face; the death of a child. We utilize unique merged registers on the entire Swedish population, combining information on the date and cause of death with parental outcomes. We exploit the longitudinal
dimension of the data and deal with a range of selection issues. Losing a child has persistent adverse effects on labor income in employment, on being in the labor market, and on marital status. Even after six years, the annual income loss is about 10%. Child loss causes 4% of those employed at the time of the child loss to be out of work five years later, mostly due to exit out of the labor force. Effects on hospitalization due to mental illness are only short-term. The value of policy measures aimed at preventing mortal accidents of children is seriously underestimated if it does not take bereavement effects on parents into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1794-1832
Number of pages39
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number604
Early online date5 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics


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