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The Influence of the Business Cycle on Mortality

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  • Wolfgang H. Reichmuth
  • Samad Sarferaz

Abstract

We analyze the impact of short-run economic fluctuations on age-specific mortality using Bayesian time series econometrics and contribute to the debate on the procyclicality of mortality. For the first time, we examine the differing consequences of economic changes for all individual age classes. We employ a recently developed model to set up structural VARs of a latent mortality variable and of unemployment and GDP growth as main business cycle indicators. We find that young adults noticeably differ from the rest of the population. They exhibit increased mortality in a recession, whereas most of the other age classes between childhood and old age react with lower mortality to increased unemployment or decreased GDP growth. In order to avoid that opposed effects may cancel each other, our findings suggest to differentiate closely between particular age classes, especially in the age range of young adults. The results for the U.S. in the period 1956–2004 are confirmed by an international comparison with France and Japan. Long- term changes in the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and mortality are investigated with data since 1933.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2008-059.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-059

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Keywords: Age-specific Mortality; Business Cycle; Unemployment; Bayesian Econometrics; Health; Epidemiology;

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References

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  3. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2002. "Deaths Rise in Good Economic Times: Evidence From the OECD," IZA Discussion Papers 654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Wolfgang Reichmuth & Samad Sarferaz, 2008. "Modeling and Forecasting Age-Specific Mortality: A Bayesian Approach," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-052a, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  5. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Recessions kill (some)
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-10-01 11:03:45
  2. Récession et justice sociale
    by Alexandre Delaigue in Econoclaste on 2008-11-13 17:36:16
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Cited by:
  1. Katja Hanewald & Thomas Post & Helmut Gr�ndl, 2011. "Stochastic Mortality, Macroeconomic Risks and Life Insurer Solvency," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(3), pages 458-475, July.
  2. Wolfgang Reichmuth & Samad Sarferaz, 2008. "Modeling and Forecasting Age-Specific Mortality: A Bayesian Approach," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-052a, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

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