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Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times

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  • Erdal Tekin
  • Chandler McClellan
  • Karen Jean Minyard

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that recessions are typically associated with better health and health behaviors. However, majority of these studies use data from the periods of relatively milder economic downturns that predate the “Great Recession.” In this paper, we examine the relationship between measures of macroeconomic conditions and a large set of outcomes of health and health behaviors using data from BRFSS between 1990 and 2014 with an emphasis on the period enveloping the Great Recession. Our results provide some support for the notion that weaker macroeconomic conditions are positively associated with health related outcomes, although the evidence is stronger for some of the outcomes (e.g., smoking and physical exercise) than others and is not present for some of the other outcomes (e.g., experiencing poor mental health) at all. But overall, the estimates are too small and imprecisely estimated to have any meaningful implications. Furthermore, the estimates become weaker over time and largely disappear in years prior to the period of the Great Recession and continues to remain small during periods enveloping the recession and the afterwards. Overall, we found no evidence that the Great Recession had a significant influence on the existing trends in health and health behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Erdal Tekin & Chandler McClellan & Karen Jean Minyard, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times," NBER Working Papers 19234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19234 Note: HC HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Layte & Anne Nolan, 2016. "Socio-economic Differentials in Male Mortality in Ireland 1984-2008," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, pages 361-390.
    2. Huixia Wang & Chenggang Wang & Timothy J. Halliday, 2016. "Health and Health Inequality during the Great Recession: Evidence from the PSID," Working Papers 2016-14, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    3. Sanjay Basu, 2014. "Improving Public Health Safety Nets After an Economic Recession," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 50, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    4. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Health Effects of Economic Crises," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25, pages 6-24, November.
    5. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2015. "Recessions, healthy no more?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-28.
    6. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & von Hinke, Stephanie & Lindeboom, Maarten & Lissdaniels, Johannes & Sundquist, Jan & Sundquist, Kristina, 2017. "Mortality and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Individual and Aggregated Data," Working Papers 2017:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    7. Emilio, Colombo & Valentina, Rotondi & Luca, Stanca, 2016. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Health: Inspecting the Transmission Mechanism," Working Papers 337, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 31 Dec 2016.
    8. repec:eee:socmed:v:182:y:2017:i:c:p:30-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. David Hummels & Jakob Munch & Chong Xiang, 2016. "No Pain, No Gain: The Effects of Exports on Effort, Injury, and Illness," NBER Working Papers 22365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Alex Hollingsworth & Christopher J. Ruhm & Kosali Simon, 2017. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Opioid Abuse," NBER Working Papers 23192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. A. Barrett & V. O'Sullivan, 2014. "The wealth, health and well-being of Ireland's older people before and during the economic crisis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(10), pages 675-678, July.
    12. Luong, Phuc & Lusher, Lester & Yasenov, Vasil, 2017. "Sleep and Student Success: The Role of Regularity vs. Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 11079, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Barbaresco, Silvia & Courtemanche, Charles J. & Qi, Yanling, 2015. "Impacts of the Affordable Care Act dependent coverage provision on health-related outcomes of young adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 54-68.
    14. 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, pages 387-412.
    15. Bonamore, Giorgio & Carmignani, Fabrizio & Colombo, Emilio, 2015. "Addressing the unemployment–mortality conundrum: Non-linearity is the answer," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 67-72.
    16. Nayan Krishna Joshi, 2016. "Local house prices and mental health," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 89-102, March.
    17. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0577-z is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Carpenter, Christopher S. & McClellan, Chandler B. & Rees, Daniel I., 2017. "Economic conditions, illicit drug use, and substance use disorders in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 63-73.
    19. Charters, Thomas J. & Harper, Sam & Strumpf, Erin C. & Subramanian, S.V. & Arcaya, Mariana & Nandi, Arijit, 2016. "The effect of metropolitan-area mortgage delinquency on health behaviors, access to health services, and self-rated health in the United States, 2003–2010," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 74-82.
    20. Martin Bassols, Nicolau & Vall Castelló, Judit, 2016. "Effects of the great recession on drugs consumption in Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 103-116.
    21. Huixia Wang & Chenggang Wang & Timothy Halliday, 2016. "Money and Credit: Health and Health Inequality during the Great Recession: Evidence from the PSID," Working Papers 201615, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    22. Bonamore, Giorgio & Carmignani, Fabrizio & Colombo, Emilio, 2015. "Addressing the unemployment–mortality conundrum: Non-linearity is the answer," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 67-72.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development

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