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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.

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  • 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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    1. Janke, Katharina & Lee, Kevin & Propper, Carol & Shields, Kalvinder & Shields, Michael A., 2020. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Health in Britain: Aggregation, Dynamics and Local Area Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 13091, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Sameem, Sediq, 2020. "Are U.S. lung cancer mortality rates converging?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 190-197.
    3. Srikant Devaraj & Marcus T. Wolfe & Pankaj C. Patel, 2021. "Creative destruction and regional health: evidence from the US," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 573-604, April.
    4. Dambar Uprety, 2019. "Skilled migration and health outcomes in developing countries," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 1-14, March.
    5. Shahdad Naghshpour & Sediq Sameem, 2019. "Convergence of Mortality Among African Americans," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 64(2), pages 237-245, October.
    6. French, Michael & Gumus, Gulcin, 2021. "Death on the Job: The Great Recession and Work-Related Traffic Fatalities," IZA Discussion Papers 14324, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Sarah Hamersma & Yilin Hou & Yusun Kim & Douglas Wolf, 2018. "Business Cycles, Medicaid Generosity, and Birth Outcomes," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(5), pages 729-749, October.

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