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Are Recessions Good for Your Health? When Ruhm Meets GHH

  • He, Hui
  • Huang, Kevin X. D.
  • Hung, Sheng-Ti

This paper first documents several important business cycle properties of health status and health expenditures in the US. We find that health expenditures are pro-cyclical while health status is counter-cyclical. We then develop a stochastic dynamic general equilibrium model with endogenous health accumulation. The model has four distinct features: 1) Both medical expenditures and leisure time are used to produce health stock; 2) Health enters into production function; 3) Depreciation rate of health stock negatively depends on working hours; 4) Health enters into utility function. We calibrate the model to US economy. The results show that the model can jointly rationalize the counter-cyclicality of health status and pro-cyclicality of medical expenditure. We also investigate the relative importance of each feature in affecting the business cycle properties of health status. We find that the joint presence of the time channel (feature 1) and the production channel (features 2 and 3) is crucial in replicating counter-cyclicality of health status.

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Paper provided by CEPREMAP in its series Dynare Working Papers with number 31.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpm:dynare:031
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  1. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Johannesson, Magnus, 2005. "Business cycles and mortality: results from Swedish microdata," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 205-218, January.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  3. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daniel G. Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2006. "Mortality, mass-layoffs, and career outcomes: an analysis using administrative data," Working Paper Series WP-06-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Hui He & Hao Zhang & Tim Halliday, 2010. "Health Investment over the Life-Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 1179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Fonseca, Raquel & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Galama, Titus & Kapteyn, Arie, 2009. "On The Rise of Health Spending and Longevity," IZA Discussion Papers 4622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Freeman, Donald G., 1999. "A note on 'Economic conditions and alcohol problems'," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 659-668, October.
  8. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  10. S. Balia & AM. Jones, 2004. "Mortality, Lifestyle and Socio-Economic Status," Working Paper CRENoS 200416, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  11. 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.
  12. Gregory J. Colman & Dhaval M. Dave, 2011. "Exercise, Physical Activity, and Exertion over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 17406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  14. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
  15. Zhao, Kai, 2011. "Social security and the rise in health spending: a macroeconomic analysis," MPRA Paper 34203, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
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