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Do economic cycles have a permanent effect on population health? Revisiting the Brenner hypothesis

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  • Audrey Laporte

    (Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Abstract

The Brenner hypothesis is essentially that economic cycles, characterized by unemployment and fluctuations in per capita income can have profound negative implications for population health. A number of subsequent studies have identified shortcomings in Brenner's model and have reported results that for the most part contradict his results. This paper argues that the failure to account for the time-series properties (i.e. the potential for unit root behaviour) of macro level data is a key omission in Brenner's and other subsequent studies. To address this omission an error correction model specification was applied to American data for the period 1948-1996. The findings suggest that economic cycles do have a permanent effect on population health. Paradoxically, they also suggest that economic growth and increases in unemployment reduce aggregate mortality risk. A need for measures of economic change that are perhaps more sensitive to the effects of economic cycles on groups that may be at greater risk of unemployment was identified. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Audrey Laporte, 2004. "Do economic cycles have a permanent effect on population health? Revisiting the Brenner hypothesis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(8), pages 767-779.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:13:y:2004:i:8:p:767-779
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.854
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Layte & Anne Nolan, 2016. "Socio-economic Differentials in Male Mortality in Ireland 1984-2008," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 47(3), pages 361-390.
    2. Arndt Reichert & Harald Tauchmann, 2011. "The Causal Impact of Fear of Unemployment on Psychological Health," Ruhr Economic Papers 0266, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Health Effects of Economic Crises," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25, pages 6-24, November.
    4. Edwards, Ryan, 2008. "Who is hurt by procyclical mortality?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(12), pages 2051-2058, December.
    5. Mylène Riva & Clare Bambra & Susan Easton & Sarah Curtis, 2011. "Hard times or good times? Inequalities in the health effects of economic change," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 56(1), pages 3-5, February.
    6. Garth Heutel & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 667-706.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2006. "Macroeconomic Conditions, Health and Mortality," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. 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.
    9. Reichert, Arndt R. & Tauchmann, Harald, 2017. "Workforce reduction, subjective job insecurity, and mental health," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 187-212.
    10. Reichert, Arndt & Tauchmann, Harald, 2011. "The Causal Impact of Fear of Unemployment on Psychological Health," Ruhr Economic Papers 266, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. Wen-Yi Chen, 2016. "Health progress and economic growth in the USA: the continuous wavelet analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 831-855, May.
    12. Tapia Granados, José A. & Ionides, Edward L., 2008. "The reversal of the relation between economic growth and health progress: Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 544-563, May.
    13. Lindo, Jason M., 2013. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of Local Economic Conditions on Health," IZA Discussion Papers 7396, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. repec:eee:ecolet:v:163:y:2018:i:c:p:114-117 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. John Gathergood, "undated". "Unemployment Expectations, Credit Commitments and Psychological Health," Discussion Papers 12/03, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    16. José Tapia granados, 2008. "Macroeconomic fluctuations and mortality in postwar Japan," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(2), pages 323-343, May.
    17. Lindo, Jason M., 2015. "Aggregation and the estimated effects of economic conditions on health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 83-96.
    18. repec:clg:wpaper:2011-02 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:zbw:rwirep:0266 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Paresh Kumar Narayan, 2010. "Modelling health and output at business cycle horizons for the USA," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 872-880.

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