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The business cycle and mortality: Urban versus rural counties

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  • Sameem, Sediq
  • Sylwester, Kevin

Abstract

Many studies have found that mortality declines during recessions, but do such results remain consistent in both urban and rural settings? To help uncover explanations for such a pro-cyclical nature of mortality, the present study revisits this topic but allows for associations between unemployment and mortality to differ between urban and rural areas. Using a total of 66 863 observations across 3066 counties of the U.S. from 1990 to 2013, we allow the coefficient on unemployment to differ between urban and rural counties. With an exception of deaths due to external accidents being pro-cyclical in rural settings, we find that the negative association between unemployment and mortality more generally holds for urban areas, particularly for females and the elderly. Moreover, we find death due to circulatory disease or influenza/pneumonia to be especially more prevalent in urban areas. Given that the negative associations between unemployment and mortality are generally stronger in cities, views attempting to explain pro-cyclical mortality should focus on characteristics in urban settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Sameem, Sediq & Sylwester, Kevin, 2017. "The business cycle and mortality: Urban versus rural counties," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 28-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:175:y:2017:i:c:p:28-35
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.12.023
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    8. Sun, Zhen & Cheng, Lei, 2021. "Air pollution and procyclical mortality: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
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