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Alcohol Mortality, Drinking Behavior, and Business Cycles: Are Slumps Really Dry Seasons?

  • Johansson, Edvard
  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Prättälä, Ritva
  • Uutela, Antti

This paper explores the connection between alcohol mortality, drinking behaviour and macroeconomic fluctuations in Finland by using both aggregate and micro-level data during the past few decades. The results from the aggregate data reveal that an improvement in regional economic conditions measured by the employment-to-population rate produces a decrease in alcohol mortality. However, the great slump of the early 1990s is an exception to this pattern. During that particular episode, alcohol mortality did indeed decline, as there was an unprecedented collapse in economic activity. The results from the micro-data show that an increase in the employment-to-population rate and expansion in regional GDP produces an increase in alcohol consumption while having no effect on the probability of being a drinker. All in all, the Finnish evidence presented does not overwhelmingly support the conclusions reported for the USA, according to which temporary economic slowdowns are good for health. In contrast, at least alcohol mortality seems to increase in those bad times that are not exceptional economic crises like the one experienced in the early 1990s. However, there is evidence that alcohol consumption is strongly procyclical by its nature. This suggests that alcohol consumption and mortality may be delinked in the short-run business cycle context.

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Paper provided by The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy in its series Discussion Papers with number 986.

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Length: 10 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:986
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  1. Oikarinen, Elias, 2005. "The Diffusion of Housing Price Movements from Centre to Surrounding Areas," Discussion Papers 979, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," NBER Working Papers 9468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Palmberg, Christopher & Ylä-Anttila, Pekka, 2006. "The Specificities of Finnish Industrial Policy - Challenges and Initiatives at the Turn of the Century," Discussion Papers 973, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  4. Maliranta, Mika, 2005. "Foreign-owned Firms and Productivity-enhancing Restructuring in Finnish Manufacturing Industries," Discussion Papers 965, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  5. repec:rif:dpaper:960 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Alcohol abuse and economic conditions: Evidence from repeated cross-sections of individual-level data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 257-270.
  7. Ali-Yrkkö, Jyrki, 2005. "Impact of Public R&D Financing on Employment," Discussion Papers 980, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  8. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1978. "The Dynamics of Youth Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Palmberg, Christopher & Pajarinen, Mika, 2005. "Determinants of Internationalisation through Strategic Alliances - Insights Based on New Data on Large Finnish Firms," Discussion Papers 966, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  10. Piekkola, Hannu, 2005. "Knowledge Capital as the Source of Growth," Discussion Papers 972, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  11. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Sulamaa, Pekka & Widgrén, Mika, 2005. "Economic Effects of Free Trade between the EU and Russia," Discussion Papers 969, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  13. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
  15. Forbes, John F. & McGregor, Alan, 1984. "Unemployment and mortality in post-war Scotland," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 239-257, December.
  16. Heikkilä, Anni, 2004. "The Regional Distribution of Professional Competence in Finland," Discussion Papers 961, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  17. Theodore J. Joyce & Naci H. Mocan, 1991. "Unemployment and Infant Health: Times-Series Evidence from the State of Tennessee," NBER Working Papers 3694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Wagstaff, Adam, 1985. "Time series analysis of the relationship between unemployment and mortality: A survey of econometric critiques and replications of Brenner's studies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 985-996, January.
  19. Sulamaa, Pekka & Widgrén, Mika, 2005. "Asian Regionalism versus Global Free Trade: A Simulation Study on Economic Effects," Discussion Papers 985, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  20. Jones, Derek C. & Kalmi, Panu & Mäkinen, Mikko, 2004. "The Determinants of Stock Option Compensation: Evidence from Finland," Discussion Papers 957, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  21. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  22. Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö, 2005. "Impact of Public R&D Financing on Employment," Economics Working Papers 039, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  23. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Maliranta, Mika, 2001. "The Turnover of Jobs and Workers in a Deep Recession: Evidence from the Finnish Business Sector," Discussion Papers 747, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  24. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Macroeconomic Conditions, Health and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 11007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Piekkola, Hannu & Heikkilä, Anni, 2004. "Active Ageing and Pension System: Finland," Discussion Papers 959, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  26. Nikulainen, Tuomo & Pajarinen, Mika & Palmberg, Christopher, 2005. "Patents and Technological Change - A Review with Focus on the FEPOCI Database," Discussion Papers 984, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  27. Gao, Maija & Hyytinen, Ari & Toivanen, Otto, 2005. "Demand for Mobile Internet: Evidence from a Real-World Pricing Experiment," Discussion Papers 964, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  28. Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Recessions lower (some) mortality rates:: evidence from Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1037-1047, March.
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