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Macroeconomic Conditions, Health and Mortality

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  • Christopher J. Ruhm

Abstract

Although health is conventionally believed to deteriorate during macroeconomic downturns, the empirical evidence supporting this view is quite weak and comes from studies containing methodological shortcomings that are difficult to remedy. Recent research that better controls for many sources of omitted variables bias instead suggests that mortality decreases and physical health improves when the economy temporarily weakens. This partially reflects reductions in external sources of death, such as traffic fatalities and other accidents, but changes in lifestyles and health behaviors are also likely to play a role. This paper summarizes our current understanding of how health is affected by macroeconomic fluctuations and describes potential mechanisms for the effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11007.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Publication status: published as Jones, Andrew M. (ed.) Elgar Companion to Health Economics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11007

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Cited by:
  1. Caroli, Eve & Bassanini, Andrea, 2014. "Is work bad for health? The role of constraint vs choice," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/12483, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2009. "The Quality of Medical Care, Behavioral Risk Factors, and Longevity Growth," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 15068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Frank Lichtenberg, 2012. "Contribution of Pharmaceutical Innovation to Longevity Growth in Germany and France, 2001–7," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 197-211, March.
  4. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Helakorpi, Satu & Prättälä, Ritva & Vartiainen, Erkki & Uutela, Antti, 2004. "Does a Slump Really Make You Thinner? Finnish Micro-level Evidence 1978 -2002," Discussion Papers, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy 928, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  5. Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2009. "The Effect of Plant Downsizing on Disability Pension Utilization," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 754-785, 06.
  6. Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Ritva Prättälä & Antti Uutela, 2005. "Alcohol mortality, drinking behaviour, and business cycles: are slumps really dry seasons?," HEW, EconWPA 0506002, EconWPA.
  7. John Bound & Timothy Waidmann, 2007. "Estimating the Health Effects of Retirements," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp168, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  8. Dhaval M. Dave & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2010. "How Does the Business Cycle Affect Eating Habits?," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 16638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Darby, Julia & Mélitz, Jacques, 2007. "Labour Market Adjustment, Social Spending and the Automatic Stabilizers in the OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6230, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Frank Lichtenberg, 2010. "The Contribution of Pharmaceutical Innovation to Longevity Growth in Germany and France," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 3095, CESifo Group Munich.

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