Are Recessions Good for Everyone’s Health? The Association between Mortality and the Business Cycle by Race in the U.S.

11 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2009 Last revised: 23 Jan 2011

See all articles by Matias Fontenla

Matias Fontenla

University of New Mexico - Department of Economics

Fidel Gonzalez

Sam Houston State University - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics and International Business

Troy C. Quast

University of South Florida

Date Written: September 17, 2009

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.

Keywords: business cycles, mortality rates, race

JEL Classification: C33, E32, I1

Suggested Citation

Fontenla, Matias and Gonzalez, Fidel and Quast, Troy C., Are Recessions Good for Everyone’s Health? The Association between Mortality and the Business Cycle by Race in the U.S. (September 17, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1474946 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1474946

Matias Fontenla

University of New Mexico - Department of Economics ( email )

1915 Roma NE/Economics Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States

Fidel Gonzalez (Contact Author)

Sam Houston State University - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics and International Business ( email )

Huntsville, TX 77341-2118
United States

Troy C. Quast

University of South Florida ( email )

12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33620
United States

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