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Exploring the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and problem drinking as captured by Google searches in the US

Author

Listed:
  • Frijters, P.
  • Johnston, D.W.
  • Lordan, G.
  • Shields, M.

Abstract

There is considerable policy interest in the impact of macroeconomic conditions on health-related behaviours and outcomes. This paper sheds new light on this issue by exploring the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and an indicator of problem drinking derived from state-level data on alcoholism-related Google searches conducted in the US over the period 2004-2011. We find the current recessionary period coincided with an almost 20% increase in alcoholism-related searches. Controlling for state and time-effects, a 5% rise in unemployment is followed in the next 12 months by an approximate 15% increase in searches. The use of Internet searches to inform on health-related behaviours and outcomes is in its infancy; but we suggest that the data provides important real-time information for policy-makers and can help overcome the under-reporting in surveys of sensitive information.

Suggested Citation

  • Frijters, P. & Johnston, D.W. & Lordan, G. & Shields, M., 2013. "Exploring the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and problem drinking as captured by Google searches in the US," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/02, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:13/02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cutler, David M. & Huang, Wei & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2015. "When does education matter? The protective effect of education for cohorts graduating in bad times," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 63-73.
    2. de Goeij, Moniek C.M. & Suhrcke, Marc & Toffolutti, Veronica & van de Mheen, Dike & Schoenmakers, Tim M. & Kunst, Anton E., 2015. "How economic crises affect alcohol consumption and alcohol-related health problems: A realist systematic review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 131-146.
    3. repec:spr:ijphth:v:62:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s00038-016-0936-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. French, Michael T. & Gumus, Gulcin, 2014. "Macroeconomic fluctuations and motorcycle fatalities in the U.S," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 187-193.
    5. repec:eee:jhecon:v:56:y:2017:i:c:p:222-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jirapramukpitak, Tawanchai & Abas, Melanie & Tangchonlatip, Kanchana & Punpuing, Sureeporn, 2014. "The effect of asset-based wealth inequality on problem drinking among rural Thai elders: A prospective population-based cohort study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 107-114.
    7. Hollingsworth, Alex & Ruhm, Christopher J. & Simon, Kosali, 2017. "Macroeconomic conditions and opioid abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 222-233.
    8. Lee, Donghyun & Kim, Minki & Lee, Jungyoun, 2016. "Adoption of green electricity policies: Investigating the role of environmental attitudes via big data-driven search-queries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 187-201.
    9. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Sinha, Kompal, 2015. "A lifecycle perspective of stock market performance and wellbeing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 237-250.
    10. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Jonathan H. Cantor & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2015. "Economic downturns and substance abuse treatment: Evidence from admissions data," DETU Working Papers 1504, Department of Economics, Temple University.

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