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Are Recessions Good for Everyone's Health? The Association Between Mortality and the Business Cycle by Race in the U.S

  • Matias Fontenla

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of New Mexico)

  • Fidel Gonzalez

    ()

    (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University)

  • Troy Quast

    ()

    (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University)

In this paper we study the effect of the business cycle on the mortality rate of the major racial groups in the U.S. Using county-level data from 1999 to 2005, we find that the unemployment rate is negatively related to mortality for whites and latinos but that there is not a statistically significant relationship for blacks. Moreover, the magnitude of this relationship is larger for latinos than for whites. Finally, the relationship becomes more pronounced for latinos and whites as the proportion of population of that race increases. Taken together, these findings suggest that the procyclical association between mortality and the business cycle identified in previous studies of the general U.S. population may vary by race.

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File URL: http://www.shsu.edu/%7Etcq001/paper_files/wp09-02_paper.pdf
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Paper provided by Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business in its series Working Papers with number 0902.

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Date of creation: Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:shs:wpaper:0902
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  1. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2002. "Deaths Rise in Good Economic Times: Evidence From the OECD," NBER Working Papers 9357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  3. Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Recessions lower (some) mortality rates:: evidence from Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1037-1047, March.
  4. Richard B. Freeman, 1973. "Changes in the Labor Market for Black Americans, 1948-72," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 67-132.
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