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The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market

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  • Cotti, Chad
  • Dunn, Richard A.
  • Tefft, Nathan

Abstract

We investigate how risky health behaviors and self - reported health vary with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and during stock market crashes. Because stock market indices are leading indicators of economic performance, this research contributes to our understanding of the macroeconomic determinants of health. Existing studies typically rely on the unemployment rate to proxy for economic performance, but this measure captures only one of many channels through which the economic environment may influence individual health decisions. We find that large, negative monthly DJIA returns, decreases in the level of the DJIA, and stock market crashes are widely associated with worsening self-reported mental health and more cigarette smoking, binge drinking, and fatal car accidents involving alcohol. These results are consistent with predictions from rational addiction models and have implications for research on the association between consumption and stock prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Cotti, Chad & Dunn, Richard A. & Tefft, Nathan, 2013. "The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market," Working Paper series 159976, University of Connecticut, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ucozwp:159976
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.159976
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    Cited by:

    1. Pesko, Michael F. & Baum, Christopher F., 2016. "The self-medication hypothesis: Evidence from terrorism and cigarette accessibility," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 94-102.
    2. Laura Argys & Andrew Friedson & M. Melinda Pitts, 2016. "Killer Debt: The Impact of Debt on Mortality," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. Schwandt, Hannes, 2014. "Wealth shocks and health outcomes: evidence from stock market fluctuations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60352, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Elira Kuka, 2018. "Quantifying the Benefits of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Health," NBER Working Papers 24766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Colombo, Emilio & Rotondi, Valentina & Stanca, Luca, 2018. "Macroeconomic conditions and health: Inspecting the transmission mechanism," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 29-37.
    6. Isaac Swensen ⓡ & Jason M. Lindo ⓡ & Krishna Regmi, 2020. "Stable Income, Stable Family," NBER Working Papers 27753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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).
    8. Nayan Krishna Joshi, 2016. "Local house prices and mental health," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 89-102, March.
    9. Martins, Igor & Cilliers, Jeanne & Fourie, Johan, 2019. "Legacies of Loss: The intergenerational outcomes of slaveholder compensation in the British Cape Colony," Lund Papers in Economic History 197, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    10. Chad Cotti & David Simon, 2018. "The Impact Of Stock Market Fluctuations On The Mental And Physical Well‐Being Of Children," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(2), pages 1007-1027, April.
    11. Brenner, Lukas & Meyll, Tobias & Stolper, Oscar & Walter, Andreas, 2020. "Consumer fraud victimization and financial well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    12. Abdou, Rawayda & Cassells, Damien & Berrill, Jenny & Hanly, Jim, 2020. "An empirical investigation of the relationship between business performance and suicide in the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 264(C).
    13. Sung, Jaesang, 2017. "The Impact of Housing Prices on Health in U.S. Before, During and After the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 78831, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Giulietti, Corrado & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2020. "When the market drives you crazy: Stock market returns and fatal car accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    15. Ftiti, Zied & Ben Ameur, Hachmi & Louhichi, Waël, 2021. "Does non-fundamental news related to COVID-19 matter for stock returns? Evidence from Shanghai stock market," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).
    16. 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.
    17. Matthew Lang & T. Clay McManus & Georg Schaur, 2019. "The effects of import competition on health in the local economy," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 44-56, January.
    18. Ha Trong Nguyen & Luke Brian Connelly, 2018. "Out of sight but not out of mind: Home countries' macroeconomic volatilities and immigrants' mental health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 189-208, January.
    19. Michael F. Pesko, 2018. "The Impact Of Perceived Background Risk On Behavioral Health: Evidence From Hurricane Katrina," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(4), pages 2099-2115, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk and Uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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