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The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market

Author

Listed:
  • Chad Cotti

    () (University of Connecticut)

  • Richard A. Dunn

    () (Texas A&M University)

  • Nathan Tefft

    () (University of Washington)

Abstract

We investigate how risky health behaviors and self - reported health vary with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and during stock market crashes. Because stock market indices are leading indicators of economic performance, this research contributes to our understanding of the macroeconomic determinants of health. Existing studies typically rely on the unemployment rate to proxy for economic performance, but this measure captures only one of many channels through which the economic environment may influence individual health decisions. We find that large, negative monthly DJIA returns, decreases in the level of the DJIA, and stock market crashes are widely associated with worsening self-reported mental health and more cigarette smoking, binge drinking, and fatal car accidents involving alcohol. These results are consistent with predictions from rational addiction models and have implications for research on the association between consumption and stock prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Chad Cotti & Richard A. Dunn & Nathan Tefft, 2013. "The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market," Working Papers 20, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zwi:wpaper:20
    as

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    File URL: http://www.cag.uconn.edu/are/zwickcenter/documents/workingpapers/wp20.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sung, Jaesang, 2017. "The Impact of Housing Prices on Health in U.S. Before, During and After the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 78831, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Emilio, Colombo & Valentina, Rotondi & Luca, Stanca, 2016. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Health: Inspecting the Transmission Mechanism," Working Papers 337, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 31 Dec 2016.
    3. Chad Cotti & David Simon, 2016. "The Impact of Stock Market Fluctuations on the Mental and Physical Wellbeing of Children," Working papers 2016-28, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    4. Pesko, Michael F. & Baum, Christopher F., 2016. "The self-medication hypothesis: Evidence from terrorism and cigarette accessibility," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 94-102.
    5. Argys, Laura & Friedson, Andrew & Pitts, M. Melinda, 2016. "Killer Debt: The Impact of Debt on Mortality," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    6. Tekin, Erdal & McClellan, Chandler & Minyard, Karen Jean, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times: Evidence from the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 7538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Nayan Krishna Joshi, 2016. "Local house prices and mental health," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, pages 89-102.
    8. Erdal Tekin & Chandler McClellan & Karen Jean Minyard, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times," NBER Working Papers 19234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    stock market; risky health behaviors; business cycle; alcohol; cigarettes;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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