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Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times: Evidence from the Great Recession

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  • Erdal Tekin
  • Chandler McClellan
  • Karen Jean Minyard

Abstract

While previous studies have shown that recessions are associated with better health outcomes and behaviors, the focus of these studies has been on the relatively milder recessions of the late 20th century. In this paper, we examine if the previously established counter-cyclical pattern in health and heath behaviors is held during the Great Recession. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) between 2005 and 2011 and focusing on a wide range of outcomes capturing health and health behaviors, we show that the association between economic deterioration and these outcomes has weakened considerably during the recent recession. In fact, majority of our estimates indicate that the relationship has practically become zero, though subtle differences exist among various sub-populations. Our results are consistent with the evidence emerging from several recent studies that suggests that the relationship between economic activity and health and health behaviors has become less noticeable in the recent years.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19234.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19234

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Cited by:
  1. Silvia Barbaresco & Charles J. Courtemanche & Yanling Qi, 2014. "Impacts of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Provision on Health-Related Outcomes of Young Adults," NBER Working Papers 20148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "Recessions, Healthy No More?," NBER Working Papers 19287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barrett, Alan & O'Sullivan, Vincent, 2013. "The Wealth, Health and Wellbeing of Ireland's Older People Before and During the Economic Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 7832, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Layte, Richard & Nolan, Anne, 2013. "Socioeconomic Differentials in Male Mortality in Ireland: 1984-2008," Papers WP470, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

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