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Was the economic crisis of 2008 good for Icelanders? Impact on health behaviors

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  • Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey
  • Corman, Hope
  • Noonan, Kelly
  • Ólafsdóttir, Þórhildur
  • Reichman, Nancy E.

Abstract

This study uses the 2008 economic crisis in Iceland to identify the effects of a macroeconomic downturn on a range of health behaviors. We use longitudinal survey data that include pre- and post-reports from the same individuals on a range of health-compromising and health-promoting behaviors. We find that the crisis led to large and significant reductions in health-compromising behaviors (such as smoking, drinking alcohol or soft drinks, and eating sweets) and certain health-promoting behaviors (consumption of fruits and vegetables), but to increases in other health-promoting behaviors (consumption of fish oil and recommended sleep). The magnitudes of effects for smoking are somewhat larger than what has been found in past research in other contexts, while those for alcohol, fruits, and vegetables are in line with estimates from other studies. Changes in work hours, real income, financial assets, mortgage debt, and mental health, together, explain the effects of the crisis on some behaviors (such as consumption of sweets and fast food), while the effects of the crisis on most other behaviors appear to have operated largely through price increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey & Corman, Hope & Noonan, Kelly & Ólafsdóttir, Þórhildur & Reichman, Nancy E., 2014. "Was the economic crisis of 2008 good for Icelanders? Impact on health behaviors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 1-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:13:y:2014:i:c:p:1-19
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.03.005
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    8. Maclean Johanna Catherine & Hill Terrence D., 2017. "Economic Conditions at School Leaving and Sleep Patterns Across the Life Course," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 1-37, April.
    9. de Goeij, Moniek C.M. & Suhrcke, Marc & Toffolutti, Veronica & van de Mheen, Dike & Schoenmakers, Tim M. & Kunst, Anton E., 2015. "How economic crises affect alcohol consumption and alcohol-related health problems: A realist systematic review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 131-146.
    10. Védís Helga Eiríksdóttir & Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir & Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir & Arna Hauksdóttir & Sigrún Helga Lund & Ragnheiður Ingibjörg Bjarnadóttir & Sven Cnattingius & Helga Zoëga, 2015. "Pregnancy-Induced Hypertensive Disorders before and after a National Economic Collapse: A Population Based Cohort Study," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(9), pages 1-15, September.
    11. Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey & Corman, Hope & Noonan, Kelly & Reichman, Nancy E., 2016. "Lifecycle effects of a recession on health behaviors: Boom, bust, and recovery in Iceland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 90-107.
    12. Birgisdóttir, Kristín Helga & Hauksdóttir, Arna & Ruhm, Christopher & Valdimarsdóttir, Unnur Anna & Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey, 2020. "The effect of the economic collapse in Iceland on the probability of cardiovascular events," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C).
    13. George L. Wehby & Lucas G. Gimenez & Jorge S. López-Camelo, 2017. "The impact of unemployment cycles on child and maternal health in Argentina," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 62(2), pages 197-207, March.
    14. Beleche, Trinidad & Cintina, Inna, 2018. "Fracking and risky behaviors: Evidence from Pennsylvania," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 69-82.
    15. Antillón, Marina & Lauderdale, Diane S. & Mullahy, John, 2014. "Sleep behavior and unemployment conditions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 22-32.
    16. Ólafsdóttir, Thorhildur & Hrafnkelsson, Birgir & Thorgeirsson, Gudmundur & Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey, 2016. "The tax-free year in Iceland: A natural experiment to explore the impact of a short-term increase in labor supply on the risk of heart attacks," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 14-27.
    17. Yilmazer, Tansel & Babiarz, Patryk & Liu, Fen, 2015. "The impact of diminished housing wealth on health in the United States: Evidence from the Great Recession," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 234-241.
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    19. Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie Vincent & Weatherall, Cecilie Dohlmann & Jepsen, Peter Winning, 2016. "The effect of military deployment on mental health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 193-208.

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