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The Human Cost of Economic Crises

  • Marcus Alexander

    (Harvard University)

  • Matthew Harding

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Carlos Lamarche

    (University of Oklahoma)

Registered author(s):

    Policy makers rely on a mix of government spending and tax cuts to address imbalances in the economy during an economic crisis. However, little discussion appears to focus explicitly on the costs of economic crises in terms of human lives, especially the lives of the most vulnerable members of society, infants. This paper quantifies the effect periods of prolonged economic recession have on infant mortality. Moreover, we investigate whether different levels of public spending on health across advanced industrialized democracies can mitigate the impact of crises on infant mortality. We find that economic crises are extremely costly and lead to a more than proportional increase in infant mortality in the short-run. Substantial public spending on health is required in order to limit their impact.

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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/08-029.pdf
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    Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 08-029.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:08-029
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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 14656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Koenker, Roger, 2004. "Quantile regression for longitudinal data," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 74-89, October.
    5. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
    7. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    8. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
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