Are Recessions Good for Your Health Behaviors? Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Iceland

50 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2012 Last revised: 28 Apr 2021

See all articles by Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir

Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir

University of Iceland

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kelly Noonan

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thorhildur Ólafsdóttir

University of Iceland - Department of Economics

Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Date Written: July 2012

Abstract

This study exploits the October 2008 economic crisis in Iceland to identify the effects of a macroeconomic downturn on a range of health behaviors. Using longitudinal survey data that include pre- and post- reports from the same individuals, we investigate the effects of the crisis on smoking, heavy drinking, dietary behaviors, sleep, and other health behaviors and investigate changes in work hours, real income, wealth, and mental health as potential mediators. We also consider the role of prices in shaping health behaviors and compute participation elasticities for the various behaviors. We find that the crisis led to reductions in all health-compromising behaviors examined and that it led to reductions in certain health-promoting behaviors but increases in others. The individual-level mediators explained some, but not all of the effects. We infer that price increases played a large role in the effects of the crisis on health behaviors.

Suggested Citation

Asgeirsdottir, Tinna Laufey and Corman, Hope and Noonan, Kelly and Olafsdottir, Thorhildur and Reichman, Nancy E., Are Recessions Good for Your Health Behaviors? Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Iceland (July 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18233, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2114859

Tinna Laufey Asgeirsdottir (Contact Author)

University of Iceland ( email )

Iceland
(354)8650821 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.asgeirsdottir.com

Hope Corman

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
United States
609-895-5559 (Phone)
609-896-5304 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kelly Noonan

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville Township, NJ 08648
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Thorhildur Olafsdottir

University of Iceland - Department of Economics ( email )

Aragata 14
IS-101 Reykjavik
Iceland

Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

97 Paterson Street
Room 435
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
United States

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