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Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times: Evidence from the Great Recession

  • Tekin, Erdal

    ()

    (American University)

  • McClellan, Chandler

    ()

    (National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Minyard, Karen Jean

    ()

    (Georgia State University)

While previous studies have shown that recessions are associated with better health outcomes and behaviors, the focus of these studies has been on the relatively milder recessions of the late 20th century. In this paper, we examine if the previously established counter-cyclical pattern in health and heath behaviors is held during the Great Recession. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) between 2005 and 2011 and focusing on a wide range of outcomes capturing health and health behaviors, we show that the association between economic deterioration and these outcomes has weakened considerably during the recent recession. In fact, majority of our estimates indicate that the relationship has practically become zero, though subtle differences exist among various sub-populations. Our results are consistent with the evidence emerging from several recent studies that suggests that the relationship between economic activity and health and health behaviors has become less noticeable in the recent years.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7538.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7538
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  22. Macy, Jonathan T. & Chassin, Laurie & Presson, Clark C., 2013. "Predictors of health behaviors after the economic downturn: A longitudinal study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 8-15.
  23. McInerney, Melissa & Mellor, Jennifer M., 2012. "Recessions and seniors’ health, health behaviors, and healthcare use: Analysis of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 744-751.
  24. Cheng Kai-Wen & Kenkel Don S, 2010. "U.S. Cigarette Demand: 1944-2004," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, August.
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