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Are recessions really good for your health? Evidence from Canada

  • Ariizumi, Hideki
  • Schirle, Tammy

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 1977–2009, 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-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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1224-1231

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:8:p:1224-1231
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.12.038
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  1. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," IZA Discussion Papers 711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
  4. N/A, 2009. "On the Recession," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 24(3), pages 253-253, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Pierre Brochu & Catherine Deri Armstrong & Louis-Philippe Morin, 2009. "The ‘Trendiness’ of Sleep: An Empirical Investigation into the Cyclical Nature of Sleep Time," Working Papers 0909E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  7. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130.
  8. 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.
  9. Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Recessions lower (some) mortality rates:: evidence from Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1037-1047, March.
  10. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2006. "Deaths rise in good economic times: Evidence from the OECD," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 298-316, December.
  11. 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.
  12. repec:pri:cheawb:adriana_booms.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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.
  14. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
  16. repec:pri:cheawb:adriana_booms is not listed on IDEAS
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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