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Are Recessions Good for Your Health Behaviors? Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Iceland

Author

Listed:
  • Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir
  • Hope Corman
  • Kelly Noonan
  • Þórhildur Ólafsdóttir
  • Nancy E. Reichman

Abstract

This study exploits the October 2008 economic crisis in Iceland to identify the effects of a macroeconomic downturn on a range of health behaviors. Using longitudinal survey data that include pre- and post- reports from the same individuals, we investigate the effects of the crisis on smoking, heavy drinking, dietary behaviors, sleep, and other health behaviors and investigate changes in work hours, real income, wealth, and mental health as potential mediators. We also consider the role of prices in shaping health behaviors and compute participation elasticities for the various behaviors. We find that the crisis led to reductions in all health-compromising behaviors examined and that it led to reductions in certain health-promoting behaviors but increases in others. The individual-level mediators explained some, but not all of the effects. We infer that price increases played a large role in the effects of the crisis on health behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18233
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Alcohol abuse and economic conditions: Evidence from repeated cross-sections of individual-level data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 257-270.
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    5. Dave, Dhaval M. & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2012. "How does the business cycle affect eating habits?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 254-262.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2007.128991_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Charles, Kerwin Kofi & DeCicca, Philip, 2008. "Local labor market fluctuations and health: Is there a connection and for whom?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1532-1550, December.
    8. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
    9. Tinna Asgeirsdottir & Gylfi Zoega, 2011. "On the economics of sleeping," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 10(2), pages 149-164, December.
    10. Colman, Gregory & Dave, Dhaval, 2013. "Exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 11-20.
    11. John A. Tauras, 2006. "Smoke-Free Air Laws, Cigarette Prices, and Adult Cigarette Demand," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(2), pages 333-342, April.
    12. Xin Xu & Robert Kaestner, 2010. "The Business Cycle and Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 15737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Barnes Michael G & Smith Trenton G., 2009. "Tobacco Use as Response to Economic Insecurity: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2015. "Losing Heart? The Effect of Job Displacement on Health," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(4), pages 833-861, August.
    2. 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.
    3. Nelson, Jon P., 2014. "Binge Drinking, Alcohol Prices, And Alcohol Taxes," Working Papers 164652, American Association of Wine Economists.
    4. Antillón, Marina & Lauderdale, Diane S. & Mullahy, John, 2014. "Sleep behavior and unemployment conditions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 22-32.
    5. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine & Robin McKnight, 2014. "Recessions, Older Workers, and Longevity: How Long Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 92-119, August.
    6. McInerney, Melissa & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Nicholas, Lauren Hersch, 2013. "Recession depression: Mental health effects of the 2008 stock market crash," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1090-1104.
    7. Urbanos-Garrido, Rosa M. & Gonzalez Lopez-Valcarcel, Beatriz, 2013. "Desempleo y salud: Un análisis de la repercusión de la crisis económica sobre la salud de los españoles/Unemployment and Health: An Analysis of the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Health of the S," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 303-326, Septiembr.
    8. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:236-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. David Madden, 2015. "Health and Wealth on the Roller-Coaster: Ireland, 2003–2011," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 387-412, April.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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