Do Elections Make You Sick?

32 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2020 Last revised: 12 Jun 2023

See all articles by Hung-Hao Chang

Hung-Hao Chang

National Taiwan University

Chad D. Meyerhoefer

Lehigh University

Date Written: January 2020


Anecdotal reports and small-scale studies suggest that elections are stressful, and might lead to a deterioration in voters’ mental well-being. Nonetheless, researchers have yet to establish whether elections actually make people sick, and if so, why. By applying a regression discontinuity design to administrative health care claims from Taiwan, we determine that elections increased health care use and expense only during legally specified campaign periods by as much as 19%. Overall, the treatment cost of illness caused by elections exceeded publicly reported levels of campaign expenditure, and accounted for 2% of total national health care costs during the campaign period.

Suggested Citation

Chang, Howard and Meyerhoefer, Chad D., Do Elections Make You Sick? (January 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26697, Available at SSRN:

Howard Chang (Contact Author)

National Taiwan University ( email )

No 1 Roosevelt road
Taipei, 10617

Chad D. Meyerhoefer

Lehigh University ( email )

621 Taylor Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics