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The Business Cycle and Health Behaviors

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  • Xin Xu
  • Robert Kaestner

Abstract

In this paper, we take a structural approach to investigate the effects of wages and working hours on health behaviors of low-educated persons using variation in wages and hours caused by changes in economic activity. We find that increases in hours are associated with an increase in cigarette smoking, a reduction in physical activity, and fewer visits to physicians. More importantly, we find that most of the effects associated with changes in hours can be attributed to the changes in the extensive margin of employment. Increases in wages are associated with greater consumption of cigarettes.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin Xu & Robert Kaestner, 2010. "The Business Cycle and Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 15737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15737
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    2. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2015. "Is There a Link between Foreclosure and Health?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 63-94, February.
    3. Daniel Kuehnle, 2013. "The Casual Effect of Family Income on Child Health: A Re-examination Using an Instrumental Variables Approach," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n13, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Taehyun Ahn, 2016. "Reduction of Working Time: Does It Lead to a Healthy Lifestyle?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(8), pages 969-983, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Kristín Helga Birgisdóttir & Stefán Hrafn Jónsson & Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir, 2017. "Economic conditions, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease: analysis of the Icelandic economic collapse," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 1-21, December.
    7. Mathieu-Bolh, Nathalie & Pautrel, Xavier, 2016. "Reassessing the effects of environmental taxation when pollution affects health over the life-cycle," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 310-321.
    8. Ehsan Latif, 2014. "The Impact Of Macroeconomic Conditions On Obesity In Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 751-759, June.
    9. Thorhildur Ólafsdóttir & Birgir Hrafnkelsson & Tinna Ásgeirsdóttir, 2015. "The Icelandic economic collapse, smoking, and the role of labor-market changes," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(4), pages 391-405, May.
    10. He, Hui & Huang, Kevin X. D. & Hung, Sheng-Ti, 2014. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health? When Ruhm Meets GHH," Dynare Working Papers 31, CEPREMAP.
    11. Kuehnle, Daniel, 2014. "The causal effect of family income on child health in the UK," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 137-150.
    12. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2012. "Understanding the Relationship between Macroeconomic Conditions and Health," Chapters, in: Andrew M. Jones (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 1, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Goel, Rajeev K., 2014. "Economic stress and cigarette smoking: Evidence from the United States," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 284-289.
    14. Sheng-Ti Hung & Hui He, 2011. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health? A Macroeconomic Analysis," 2011 Meeting Papers 1178, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Jean‐Paul Lam & Emmanuelle Piérard, 2017. "The Time‐Varying Relationship between Mortality and Business Cycles in the USA," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 164-183, February.
    16. Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Þórhildur Ólafsdóttir & Nancy E. Reichman, 2012. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health Behaviors? Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Iceland," NBER Working Papers 18233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey & Corman, Hope & Noonan, Kelly & Ólafsdóttir, Þórhildur & Reichman, Nancy E., 2014. "Was the economic crisis of 2008 good for Icelanders? Impact on health behaviors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 1-19.
    18. Hall, James & Goranitis, Ilias & Kigozi, Jesse & Guariglia, Alessandra, 2021. "New evidence on the impact of the Great Recession on health-compromising behaviours," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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