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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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    Cited by:

    1. Alessie, Rob J.M. & Angelini, Viola & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Mierau, Jochen O. & Viluma, Laura, 2019. "Economic conditions at birth and cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood: Evidence from post-1950 cohorts," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 224(C), pages 77-84.
    2. 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.
    3. 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..
    4. Arthi, Vellore & Parman, John, 2021. "Disease, downturns, and wellbeing: Economic history and the long-run impacts of COVID-19," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    5. Liam Wright & Andrew Steptoe & Daisy Fancourt, 2021. "Are adversities and worries during the COVID-19 pandemic related to sleep quality? Longitudinal analyses of 46,000 UK adults," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(3), pages 1-18, March.
    6. Uri Goldsztejn & David Schwartzman & Arye Nehorai, 2020. "Public policy and economic dynamics of COVID-19 spread: A mathematical modeling study," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(12), pages 1-16, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Angelini, Viola & Mierau, Jochen O. & Viluma, Laura, 2021. "Socioeconomic Conditions in Childhood and Mental Health Later in Life," GLO Discussion Paper Series 844, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. 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.
    10. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Till von Wachter, 2020. "Lost Generations: Long‐Term Effects of the COVID‐19 Crisis on Job Losers and Labour Market Entrants, and Options for Policy," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(3), pages 549-590, September.
    12. Daniel Dench & Michael Grossman, 2019. "Health and the Wage Rate: Cause, Effect, Both, or Neither? New Evidence on an Old Question," Research in Labor Economics, in: Solomon W. Polachek & Konstantinos Tatsiramos (ed.), Health and Labor Markets, volume 47, pages 1-24, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    13. Duque, Valentina & Schmitz, Lauren L., 2020. "The Influence of Early-life Economic Shocks on Long-term Outcomes: Evidence from the U.S. Great Depression," Working Papers 2020-11, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    14. Claudia-Andreea Toma & Burlacioiu Cristina, 2019. "Mortality Phenomenon Analysis on Adult Population Under the Influence of Economic Factors in European Context," Journal of Social and Economic Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 8(1), pages 15-25, July.
    15. Christoph Kronenberg, 2021. "New(spaper) evidence of a reduction in suicide mentions during the 19th century US gold rush," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(10), pages 2582-2594, September.
    16. 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.
    17. Shaobin Wang & Zhoupeng Ren, 2019. "Spatial variations and macroeconomic determinants of life expectancy and mortality rate in China: a county-level study based on spatial analysis models," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 64(5), pages 773-783, June.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Daniel Dench & Michael Grossman, 2018. "Health and the Wage: Cause, Effect, Both, or Neither? New Evidence on an Old Question," NBER Working Papers 25264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    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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