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Are recessions harmful to health after all?: Evidence from the European Union

Author

Listed:
  • Athina Economou
  • Agelike Nikolaou
  • Ioannis Theodossiou

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of national unemployment rates on overall age and cause-specific mortality rates in a panel sample of 13 European Union countries. Design/methodology/approach - A fixed-effects model is used to control for unobserved time-invariant characteristics within countries. In addition, controls such as lifestyle risk factors, urbanisation and medical intervention indicators, for potential confounders are used. Findings - Contrary to some recent evidence this study shows that there is a strong, positive relationship between adverse economic conditions and mortality. This is in contrast to findings about the US case. Originality/value - This paper revisits the issue of the unemployment-mortality relationship by utilising fixed effect models with controls for various indicators that are expected to affect mortality, in contrast to previous studies.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:35:y:2008:i:5:p:368-384
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wu, Wen-Chieh & Cheng, Hui-Pei, 2010. "Symmetric mortality and asymmetric suicide cycles," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1974-1981.
    2. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:25 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Thorhildur Ólafsdóttir & Birgir Hrafnkelsson & Tinna Ásgeirsdóttir, 2015. "The Icelandic economic collapse, smoking, and the role of labor-market changes," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(4), pages 391-405, May.
    4. Colman, Gregory & Dave, Dhaval, 2013. "Exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 11-20.
    5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Health Effects of Economic Crises," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25, pages 6-24, November.
    6. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2015. "Recessions, healthy no more?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-28.
    7. Gonzalez, Fidel & Quast, Troy, 2010. "Mortality and business cycles by level of development: Evidence from Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 2066-2073.
    8. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & von Hinke, Stephanie & Lindeboom, Maarten & Lissdaniels, Johannes & Sundquist, Jan & Sundquist, Kristina, 2017. "Mortality and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Individual and Aggregated Data," Working Papers 2017:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    9. 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.
    10. Isabel Ruiz & Carlos Vargas-Silva, 2010. "Another consequence of the economic crisis: a decrease in migrants' remittances," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1-2), pages 171-182.
    11. Vellore Arthi & Brian Beach & W. Walker Hanlon, 2017. "Estimating the Recession-Mortality Relationship when Migration Matters," NBER Working Papers 23507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2006. "Macroeconomic Conditions, Health and Mortality," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Thorhildur Ólafsdóttir & Tinna Ásgeirsdóttir, 2015. "Gender differences in drinking behavior during an economic collapse: evidence from Iceland," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 975-1001, December.
    14. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2012. "Understanding the Relationship between Macroeconomic Conditions and Health," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Drydakis, Nick, 2015. "The effect of unemployment on self-reported health and mental health in Greece from 2008 to 2013: A longitudinal study before and during the financial crisis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 43-51.
    16. Nizalova, Olena Y. & Norton, Edward C., 2017. "Long-Run Effects of Severe Economic Recessions on Male BMI Trajectories and Health Behaviors," IZA Discussion Papers 10776, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Badi Baltagi & Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2016. "Special issue on the estimation of gravity models of bilateral trade: Editors’ introduction," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 1-4.
    18. Ariizumi, Hideki & Schirle, Tammy, 2012. "Are recessions really good for your health? Evidence from Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1224-1231.
    19. Clémentine Garrouste & Mathilde Godard, 2015. "The Lasting Health Impact of Leaving School in a Bad Economy: Britons in the 1970s Recession," Working Papers halshs-01521916, HAL.
    20. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14542 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Sif Jónsdóttir & Tinna Ásgeirsdóttir, 2014. "The effect of job loss on body weight during an economic collapse," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(6), pages 567-576, July.

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