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Wages and employment security following a major disaster: a 17-year population-based longitudinal comparative study.

Velden, P.G. van der, Muffels, R.J.A., Peijen, R., Bosmans, M.W.G. Wages and employment security following a major disaster: a 17-year population-based longitudinal comparative study. PLoS One: 2019, 14(3), e0214208
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Objectives
The effects of disasters on mental health are well documented, but very little is known about the short to long-term effects of human-made disasters on wage and employment security careers of the affected residents.

Methods
Residents affected by a major fireworks disaster (May 13, 2000) in a Dutch residential area were all anonymously identified, based on postal codes of the affected area. To gain insight in these effects, data were derived from Statistics Netherlands that records all individual demographic, gross annual wages and employment security data of the entire Dutch population since 1999. A quasi-experimental matched control group design was used by constructing two pair-wise matched groups of non-affected residents of the city of Tilburg and the general Dutch population. Matching was based on nine demographic variables such as gender, age, education level and gross annual wage in 1999 (Ntotal = 12,648). The effects of the disaster on wage and employment security from 1999 to 2016 among the total group and among those with low wages in 1999, were assessed using fixed-effects panel regression analyses.

Results
Affected residents had significant lower gross annual wages in the medium and long term than the non-affected groups from the Netherlands, but differences were (very) small. Compared to the Tilburg group the significant differences were trivial in the medium term. Among the low-wage groups, no relevant differences were found between affected and non-affected residents. With respect to employment security, no or trivial differences were found between the total group of affected and matched comparison groups. Among those with low wages in 1999, in 2001 and especially 2002 affected residents worked fewer weeks per year than non-affected from Tilburg. In 2002 the difference with the Tilburg group was above moderate.

Conclusions
These results speak to the resilience of affected residents, given the mental health problems and PTSD-symptomatology they suffered from, as shown in previous research.