Long-Run Effect of Severe Economic Recessions: Drastic Changes in Working Hours and Male BMI Trajectories
Posted: 27 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 25, 2013
We turn to the experience of Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union to investigate how individual labor market shocks during severe recessions affect BMI and health-related behaviors of men in the longer run. We apply growth curve modeling to analyze BMI trajectories from 2003 to 2007 and find that past exogenous labor market shocks (e.g., plant closings, bankruptcies, restructuring, privatization, and compulsory job leaves) from 1986 to 2003 significantly change the BMI-age relationship for men. While the BMI growth of those who never experienced a labor market shock follows a quadratic age pattern, individuals who had one or more exogenous labor market shock start out with higher BMI at age 18-30, but then the BMI growth is flatter and nearly linear, overtaking the BMI growth in the comparison group at age 60. The effects on other health behaviors are mixed. We find no long-lasting effect on drinking behavior, while labor market shocks increase the probability of smoking and decrease the probability of engaging in vigorous or moderate physical activity across all ages.
Keywords: severe recession, BMI trajectory, growth curve, transition economy
JEL Classification: I12, J65, E24
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