Economic Crisis, Mortality and Health Status. A New Perspective

Atella VincenzoBelotti FedericoKopinska JoannaPalma AlessandroPiano Mortari Andrea
CEIS Research Paper
Since the seminal paper by Ruhm (2000), a large body of literature agrees on the existence of pro-cyclical fluctuation between economy’s performance and mortality, and this evidence has been confirmed also during the Great Recession (GR). In this study we identify a series of important limitations that may have severely affected previous results. For the first time in this literature we use patient level data collected by GPs in Italy, reporting mortality and objectively measured health information on a large representative population sample. We find a clear positive effect of a rise in unemployment on three important morbidity outcomes. The lag-lead analysis confirms the validity of our results, with changes in prevalences following the same dynamics of the unemployment rise since the starting of the economic slowdown. Our study shows also that the effect of unemployment on the total mortality is no longer significant when controlling for the existence of poor health conditions and suggests that the impact of severe economic downturns on population mortality should be reconsidered.

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Number: 425
Keywords: health status, unemployment, mortality, economic crisis, Great Recession
JEL codes: I10,E32,J20,Q53
Volume: 16
Issue: 1
Date: Tuesday 20 February 2018
Revision Date: Tuesday 20 February 2018