Health, Employment, and the Quality of Life in Ireland

Vani Borooah, Donal Dineen, Nicola Lynch

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    The purpose of this paper is to investigate the determinants of the Quality of Life (QoL) in Ireland using a sample of 3,500 respondents to the Irish Health Service Executive’s Survey of Consumers’ Experience of the Health Services in Ireland (HSE Survey) carried out between November 2006 and March 2007. Using an ordered logit model, we show that the likelihood of being satisfied with one's QoL is enhanced by social class, income, employment and, above all, by health. The methodology's ability to identify persons who might be "at risk" from a low QoL allows one to speculate on the QoL in Ireland today, in the winter of its discontent, compared to that in 2006-2007 when it basked in the summer of the Celtic Tiger. In present circumstances, one would expect that joblessness would play a much more important role in determining QoL: prior to 2008, unemployment meant a short wait till a suitable job turned up; now it is more likely to involve a protracted search at home or emigration. Furthermore, since unemployment often leads to bad health outcomes, one can be reasonably certain that the QoL associated with a 14 percent unemployment rate will be considerably worse than those witnessed during the halcyon days of the economic boom. This raises the question of how this additional, recession-induced, demand for health services will be met at a time when public expenditure on health in Ireland is to be cut by €1.4 billion over the next four years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-169
    JournalIrish Journal of Sociology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2011

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