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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
    Note: HC HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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, 2016. "The Effects of Non-Contributory Pensions on Material and Subjective Well Being," NBER Working Papers 22995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Cem Mete & T. Paul Schultz, 2002. "Health and Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Taiwan," Working Papers 846, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    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. Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul & Bando, Rosangela, 2016. "Non-contributory pensions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 47-58.
    9. H. Naci Mocan & R. Kaj Gittings, 2001. "Pardons, Executions and Homicide," NBER Working Papers 8639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Andrew E. Clark, 2014. "Winning big but feeling no better? The effect of lottery prizes on physical and mental health," Working Papers halshs-00566789, HAL.
    12. Maite Blázquez Cuesta & Santiago Budría, 2013. "Does income deprivation affect people’s mental well-being?," Working Papers 1312, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

    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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