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Health and health behaviors during the great recession: a note on drinking, smoking, obesity, and physical activity

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  • Erdal Tekin

    (American University, IZA and NBER)

  • Chandler McClellan

    (American University, IZA and NBER)

  • Karen Jean Minyard

    (Georgia State University)

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that recessions are typically associated with better health and health behaviors. With the exception of a few recent studies however, these studies focus on sample periods that end prior to the Great Recession. The few exceptions that extend the analysis period beyond the Great Recession suggest that the pro-cyclical relationship between macroeconomic conditions and mortality obtained in earlier studies might have weakened over time. In this paper, we revisited the relationship between state unemployment rate and a large set of outcomes of health and health behaviors using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) between 1990 and 2014. Overall, our results suggest that state unemployment rate is weakly related to both health and health behaviors as our estimates are too small to have any meaningful implications, although they are largely imprecisely estimated. Finally, we tested whether the Great Recession played a significant role in influencing the pattern in the relationship between unemployment rate and health and health behaviors. Our results from this analysis do not reveal any measurable recession effect, although the estimates are again largely imprecise.

Suggested Citation

  • Erdal Tekin & Chandler McClellan & Karen Jean Minyard, 2018. "Health and health behaviors during the great recession: a note on drinking, smoking, obesity, and physical activity," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 1017-1026, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9364-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-017-9364-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
    2. Erdal Tekin & Chandler McClellan & Karen Jean Minyard, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times," NBER Working Papers 19234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:wly:hlthec:v:25:y:2016:i::p:6-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tekin, Erdal & McClellan, Chandler & Minyard, Karen Jean, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times: Evidence from the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 7538, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Health Effects of Economic Crises," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(S2), pages 6-24, November.
    6. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2015. "Recessions, healthy no more?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-28.
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    Cited by:

    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. Lizhong Peng & Jie Chen & Xiaohui Guo, 2022. "Macroeconomic conditions and health‐related outcomes in the United States: A metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area‐level analysis between 2004 and 2017," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 3-20, January.
    3. Wilkinson, Lindsay R. & Schafer, Markus H. & Wilkinson, Renae, 2020. "How painful is a recession? An assessment of two future-oriented buffering mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 255(C).
    4. De, Prabal K. & Segura-Escano, Raul, 2021. "Drinking during downturn: New evidence from the housing market fluctuations in the United States during the Great Recession," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
    5. Sanchis, Raúl G. & Vicente-Pérez, José, 2022. "Lifestyle dynamics index: Worldwide results and the case of the United States of America," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    BRFSS; Health; Recession; Unemployment; Smoking; Obesity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development

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