Are Recessions Good for Your Health?

48 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 1999 Last revised: 1 Oct 2010

See all articles by Christopher J. Ruhm

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 1996

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between economic conditions and health. Fixed-effect models are estimated using state level data for the 1972-1991 time period. Health is proxied by total and age- specific mortality rates, as well as by 10 particular causes of death. Total mortality and nine of the ten sources of fatalities exhibit a procyclical variation, with suicides representing the important exception. The fluctuations in mortality are larger for 20-44 year olds than for older individuals. The predicted relationship between personal incomes and health is quite weak and is sensitive to the choice of model specifications, time periods and dependent variables. These findings suggest the possible importance of cyclical variations in the time costs of medical care or healthy lifestyles and of negative health effects of job-holding.

Suggested Citation

Ruhm, Christopher J., Are Recessions Good for Your Health? (May 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5570, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=5035

Christopher J. Ruhm (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://batten.virginia.edu/cruhm.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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