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Why Do More People Die During Economic Expansions?


  • Ann Huff Stevens
  • Douglas L. Miller
  • Marianne Page
  • Mateusz Filipski


Consider this seeming paradox: when economic times are good, deaths in the United States increase. The reasons for this economic impact on mortality are not well understood, but the negative health effects of over-work, stress, and work-related behavior are often cited as culprits. However, this explanation is not completely persuasive, because other evidence shows that losing a job when the economy sours causes individuals' health to deterioate. If that were the case, it would seem that, during good economic times, mortality would decline. These conflicting theories about the effect of indviduals' work on their own health suggest that the mechanisms driving the unemployment-mortality link are more complex.

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  • Ann Huff Stevens & Douglas L. Miller & Marianne Page & Mateusz Filipski, 2012. "Why Do More People Die During Economic Expansions?," Issues in Brief ib2012-8, Center for Retirement Research, revised Apr 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:issbrf:ib2012-8

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