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Are Recessions Really Good for Your Health? Evidence from Canada

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  • Ariizumi, Hideki
  • Schirle, Tammy

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between business cycle fluctuations and health in the Canadian context, given that a procyclical relationship between mortality rates and unemployment rates has already been well established in the U.S. literature. Using a fixed effects model and provincial data over the period 1977--â€2009, we estimate the effect of unemployment rates on Canadian age and gender specific mortality rates. Consistent with U.S. results, there is some evidence of a strong procyclical pattern in the mortality rates of middle--â€aged Canadians. We find that a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate lowers the predicted mortality rate of individuals in their 30s by nearly 2 percent. In contrast to the U.S. data, we do not find a significant cyclical pattern in the mortality rates of infants and seniors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series CLSSRN working papers with number clsrn_admin-2011-4.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 22 Feb 2011
Date of revision: 22 Feb 2011
Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-4

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Web page: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/

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Keywords: Unemployment; Business Cycles; Health; Mortality;

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References

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  1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
  4. Athina Economou & Agelike Nikolaou & Ioannis Theodossiou, 2008. "Are recessions harmful to health after all?: Evidence from the European Union," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 368-384, October.
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  6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  7. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2002. "Deaths Rise in Good Economic Times: Evidence From the OECD," NBER Working Papers 9357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Recessions lower (some) mortality rates:: evidence from Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1037-1047, March.
  9. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306, August.
  10. Siddiqi, Arjumand & Hertzman, Clyde, 2007. "Towards an epidemiological understanding of the effects of long-term institutional changes on population health: A case study of Canada versus the USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 589-603, February.
  11. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
  12. Douglas L. Miller & Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens & Mateusz Filipski, 2009. "Why Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 122-27, May.
  13. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana LLeras Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130, August.
  14. Charles, Kerwin Kofi & DeCicca, Philip, 2008. "Local labor market fluctuations and health: Is there a connection and for whom?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1532-1550, December.
  15. Ann Huff Stevens & Douglas L. Miller & Marianne E. Page & Mateusz Filipski, 2011. "The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Understanding Pro-cyclical Mortality," NBER Working Papers 17657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "Recessions, Healthy No More?," NBER Working Papers 19287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sif Jónsdóttir & Tinna Ásgeirsdóttir, 2014. "The effect of job loss on body weight during an economic collapse," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 567-576, July.

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