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Economic Expansions Are Unhealthy: Evidence from Microdata

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  • Christopher J. Ruhm

Abstract

This study uses microdata from the 1972-1981 National Health Interview Surveys to examine how health status and medical care utilization fluctuate with state macroeconomic conditions, after controlling for personal characteristics, location fixed-effects, general time effects and (usually) state-specific time trends. The major finding is that there is a countercyclical variation in physical health that is especially pronounced for individuals of prime-working age, employed persons, and males. The negative health effects of economic expansions accumulate over several years, are larger for acute than chronic ailments, and occur despite increased use of medical care. Finally, there is some evidence that mental health is procyclical, in sharp contrast to physical well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Ruhm, 2001. "Economic Expansions Are Unhealthy: Evidence from Microdata," NBER Working Papers 8447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8447
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    Cited by:

    1. Ianina Rossi & Fernanda Tellechea & Fiorella Tramontin & Patricia Triunfo, 2007. "El estado de salud de los uruguayos," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 34(1 Year 20), pages 73-96, June.
    2. Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul & Bando, Rosangela, 2016. "Non-contributory pensions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 47-58.
    3. Rosangela Bando & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler, 2020. "The Effects of Noncontributory Pensions on Material and Subjective Well-Being," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(4), pages 1233-1255.
    4. Cem Mete & T. Paul Schultz, 2002. "Health and Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Taiwan," Working Papers 846, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    5. Benedicte Apouey & Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "Winning Big but Feeling no Better? The Effect of Lottery Prizes on Physical and Mental Health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 516-538, May.
    6. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C. & Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe & Zweimüller, Josef, 2011. "Recessions are bad for workplace safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 764-773, July.
    7. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C., 2006. "Are recessions good for workplace safety?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1069-1093, November.
    8. H. Naci Mocan & R. Kaj Gittings, 2001. "Pardons, Executions and Homicide," NBER Working Papers 8639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kneipp, Shawn M. & Kairalla, John A. & Sheely, Amanda L., 2013. "A randomized controlled trial to improve health among women receiving welfare in the U.S.: The relationship between employment outcomes and the economic recession," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 130-140.
    10. Bando, Rosangela & Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul, 2022. "Another brick on the wall: On the effects of non-contributory pensions on material and subjective well being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 195(C), pages 16-26.
    11. Goryakin, Yevgeniy & Suhrcke, Marc, 2014. "Economic development, urbanization, technological change and overweight: What do we learn from 244 Demographic and Health Surveys?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 109-127.
    12. Benedicte Apouey & Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "Winning Big but Feeling no Better? The Effect of Lottery Prizes on Physical and Mental Health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 516-538, May.
    13. Benedicte Apouey & Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "Winning Big but Feeling no Better? The Effect of Lottery Prizes on Physical and Mental Health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 516-538, May.
    14. Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul & Bando, Rosangela, 2016. "Non-contributory pensions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 47-58.
    15. Maite Blázquez Cuesta & Santiago Budría, 2013. "Does income deprivation affect people’s mental well-being?," Working Papers 1312, Banco de España.

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    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

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