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Recessions, Older Workers, and Longevity: How Long Are Recessions Good for Your Health?

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Listed:
  • Courtney C. Coile
  • Phillip B. Levine
  • Robin McKnight

Abstract

Although past research has found that recessions reduce contemporaneous mortality, workers nearing retirement age may experience reduced longevity attributable to lengthy unemployment spells and lost health insurance at a particularly vulnerable time. To test this hypothesis, we generate age-specific cohort survival probabilities using 1965–2008 Vital Statistics mortality data and link them to labor market conditions at earlier ages. Our results indicate that experiencing a recession in one's late 50s reduces longevity. We also find that it leads to several years of reduced employment, health insurance coverage, and health care utilization, which may contribute to the lower long-term likelihood of survival.

Suggested Citation

  • Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine & Robin McKnight, 2014. "Recessions, Older Workers, and Longevity: How Long Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 92-119, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:3:p:92-119
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.3.92
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    2. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
    3. Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Þórhildur Ólafsdóttir & Nancy E. Reichman, 2012. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health Behaviors? Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Iceland," NBER Working Papers 18233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ann H. Stevens & Douglas L. Miller & Marianne E. Page & Mateusz Filipski, 2015. "The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Understanding Pro-cyclical Mortality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 279-311, November.
    5. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2010. "Recessions, Reeling Markets, and Retiree Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 16066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2011. "Recessions, Retirement, and Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 23-28, May.
    8. 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 122-127, May.
    9. Joanna N. Lahey, 2008. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    10. Richard W. Johnson & Barbara Butrica, 2012. "Age Disparities in Unemployment and Reemployment During the Great Recession and Recovery," Issue Briefs 2012-03, Urban Institute, Program on Retirement Policy.
    11. John Cawley & Asako S. Moriya & Kosali Simon, 2015. "The Impact of the Macroeconomy on Health Insurance Coverage: Evidence from the Great Recession," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 206-223, February.
    12. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306.
    13. John Bound & Timothy Waidmann, 2007. "Estimating the Health Effects of Retirements," Working Papers wp168, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    14. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise in the Disability Rolls and the Decline in Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-206.
    15. Stephen E. Snyder & William N. Evans, 2006. "The Effect of Income on Mortality: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 482-495, August.
    16. Courtney C. Coile, 2004. "Health Shocks and Couples' Labor Supply Decisions," NBER Working Papers 10810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tapia Granados, José A. & Rodriguez, Javier M., 2015. "Health, economic crisis, and austerity: A comparison of Greece, Finland and Iceland," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(7), pages 941-953.
    2. Boen, Courtney & Yang, Y. Claire, 2016. "The physiological impacts of wealth shocks in late life: Evidence from the Great Recession," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 221-230.
    3. Courtney Coile, 2015. "Recessions and Retirement: How Stock and Labor Market Fluctuations Affect Older Workers," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(2), pages 03-07, 08.
    4. David Hummels & Jakob Munch & Chong Xiang, 2016. "No Pain, No Gain: The Effects of Exports on Effort, Injury, and Illness," NBER Working Papers 22365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Garth Heutel & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 667-706.
    6. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2017. "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century," Working Papers 2017-spring, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    7. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:19166282 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Courtney C. Coile, 2015. "Economic Determinants Of Workers’ Retirement Decisions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 830-853, September.
    9. Jonathan H. Cantor & Brady P. Horn & Johanna Catherine Maclean, 2013. "Recessions and Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment," NBER Working Papers 19115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:48:y:2017:i:2017-01:p:397-476 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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