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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

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Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Matias Fontenla & Fidel Gonzalez & Troy Quast, 2009. "Are Recessions Good for Everyone's Health? The Association Between Mortality and the Business Cycle by Race in the U.S," Working Papers 0902, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:shs:wpaper:0902
    as

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    File URL: http://www.shsu.edu/academics/economics-and-international-business/documents/wp_series/wp09-02_paper.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2000. "Rising tide in the labor market: to what degree do expansions benefit the disadvantaged?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 3-33.
    2. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2006. "Deaths rise in good economic times: Evidence from the OECD," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 298-316, December.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    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.
    5. 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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