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The Long-Term Impact of the COVID-19 Unemployment Shock on Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates

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  • Francesco Bianchi
  • Giada Bianchi
  • Dongho Song

Abstract

We adopt a time series approach to investigate the historical relation between unemployment, life expectancy, and mortality rates. We fit Vector-autoregressions for the overall US population and for groups identified based on gender and race. We use our results to assess the long-run effects of the COVID-19 economic recession on mortality and life expectancy. We estimate the size of the COVID-19-related unemployment shock to be between 2 and 5 times larger than the typical unemployment shock, depending on race and gender, resulting in a significant increase in mortality rates and drop in life expectancy. We also predict that the shock will disproportionately affect African-Americans and women, over a short horizon, while the effects for white men will unfold over longer horizons. These figures translate in more than 0.8 million additional deaths over the next 15 years.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Bianchi & Giada Bianchi & Dongho Song, 2020. "The Long-Term Impact of the COVID-19 Unemployment Shock on Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates," NBER Working Papers 28304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28304
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Julian Kozlowski & Laura Veldkamp & Venky Venkateswaran, 2020. "Scarring Body and Mind: The Long-Term Belief-Scarring Effects of COVID-19," NBER Working Papers 27439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Krueger, Dirk & Uhlig, Harald & Xie, Taojun, 2020. "Macroeconomic Dynamics and Reallocation in an Epidemic: Evaluating the "Swedish Solution''," CEPR Discussion Papers 14607, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Callum J. Jones & Thomas Philippon & Venky Venkateswaran, 2020. "Optimal Mitigation Policies in a Pandemic: Social Distancing and Working from Home," NBER Working Papers 26984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fernando Alvarez & David Argente, 2020. "A Simple Planning Problem for COVID-19 Lockdown," Working Papers 2020-34, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kai Fischer & J. James Reade & W. Benedikt Schmal, 2021. "The Long Shadow of an Infection: COVID-19 and Performance at Work," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2021-17, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    2. Florin-Valeriu PANTELIMON & Bogdan-Stefan POSEDARU & Elena-Aura GRIGORESCU & Dimitrie-Daniel PLACINTA, 2021. "Labor Market Trends During The COVID-19 Pandemic," Informatica Economica, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 25(2), pages 50-63.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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