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Alcohol mortality, drinking behaviour, and business cycles: are slumps really dry seasons?

Author

Listed:
  • Petri Böckerman

    (Labour Institute for Economic Research)

  • Edvard Johansson

    (The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy)

  • Ritva Prättälä

    (National Public Health Institute)

  • Antti Uutela

    (National Public Health Institute)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Ritva Prättälä & Antti Uutela, 2005. "Alcohol mortality, drinking behaviour, and business cycles: are slumps really dry seasons?," HEW 0506002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0506002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Niclas Kruger & Mikael Svensson, 2010. "Good times are drinking times: empirical evidence on business cycles and alcohol sales in Sweden 1861-2000," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(6), pages 543-546.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    alcohol mortality; drinking; business cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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