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Economic Conditions and Mortality: Evidence from 200 Years of Data

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Wei Huang
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney

Abstract

Using data covering over 100 birth-cohorts in 32 countries, we examine the short- and long-term effects of economic conditions on mortality. We find that small, but not large, booms increase contemporary mortality. Yet booms from birth to age 25, particularly those during adolescence, lower adult mortality. A simple model can rationalize these findings if economic conditions differentially affect the level and trajectory of both good and bad inputs into health. Indeed, air pollution and alcohol consumption increase in booms. In contrast, booms in adolescence raise adult incomes and improve social relations and mental health, suggesting these mechanisms dominate in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Cutler & Wei Huang & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2016. "Economic Conditions and Mortality: Evidence from 200 Years of Data," NBER Working Papers 22690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22690
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gonzalez, Fidel & Quast, Troy, 2010. "Mortality and business cycles by level of development: Evidence from Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(12), pages 2066-2073, December.
    2. W. Walker Hanlon, 2015. "Pollution and Mortality in the 19th Century," NBER Working Papers 21647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anna Aizer & Shari Eli & Joseph Ferrie & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2016. "The Long-Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 935-971, April.
    4. Neel Rao, 2016. "The Impact Of Macroeconomic Conditions In Childhood On Adult Labor Market Outcomes," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1425-1444, July.
    5. Lindo, Jason M., 2015. "Aggregation and the estimated effects of economic conditions on health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 83-96.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Shoumitro Chatterjee & Tom S. Vogl, 2016. "Growth and Childbearing in the Short- and Long-Run," Working Papers sc_tv_growth_fertility.pd, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    2. Shoumitro Chatterjee & Tom Vogl, 2016. "Growth and Childbearing in the Short- and Long-Run," NBER Working Papers 23000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 61-70.
    4. Bryan Stuart, 2017. "The Long-Run Effects of Recessions on Education and Income," Working Papers 2017-25, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    5. Vellore Arthi & Brian Beach & W. Walker Hanlon, 2017. "Estimating the Recession-Mortality Relationship when Migration Matters," NBER Working Papers 23507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Rina Na & David J.G. Slusky, 2016. "Does The Aca’S Medicaid Expansion Improve Health?," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201608, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2016.
    7. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2017. "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 397-476.
    8. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2017. "The Long Reach of Education: Health, Wealth, and DI Participation," NBER Working Papers 23307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Alessie, Rob & Angelini, Viola & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Mierau, Jochen O. & Viluma, Laura, 2017. "Economic Conditions at Birth and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Adulthood: Evidence from New Cohorts," IZA Discussion Papers 10810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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