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Unemployment and Health Behaviors Over the Business Cycle: a Longitudinal View

Author

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  • Gregory Colman
  • Dhaval Dave

Abstract

We examine the first-order internal effects of unemployment on a range of health behaviors during the most recent recession using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79). Consistent with prior studies based on cross-sectional data, we find that becoming unemployed is associated with a small increase in leisure-time exercise and in body weight, a moderate decrease in smoking, and a substantial decline in total physical activity. We also find that unemployment is associated with a decline in purchases of fast food. Together, these results imply that both energy consumption and expenditure decline in the U.S. during recessions, the net result being a slight increase in body weight. There is generally considerable heterogeneity in these effects across specific health behaviors, across the intensive and extensive margins, across the outcome distribution, and across gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Colman & Dhaval Dave, 2014. "Unemployment and Health Behaviors Over the Business Cycle: a Longitudinal View," NBER Working Papers 20748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20748
    Note: EFG HC HE LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey & Corman, Hope & Noonan, Kelly & Reichman, Nancy E., 2016. "Lifecycle effects of a recession on health behaviors: Boom, bust, and recovery in Iceland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 90-107.
    2. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:173-181 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:29:y:2018:i:c:p:138-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Jones, Melanie K. & McVicar, Duncan, 2017. "The Dynamics of Disability and Benefit Receipt in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 11186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kaiser, Micha & Reutter, Mirjam & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Strohmaier, Kristina, 2017. "Smoking and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 10953, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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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