NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Business Cycle and Health Behaviors

Xin Xu, Robert Kaestner

NBER Working Paper No. 15737
Issued in February 2010
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE

In this paper, we take a structural approach to investigate the effects of wages and working hours on health behaviors of low-educated persons using variation in wages and hours caused by changes in economic activity. We find that increases in hours are associated with an increase in cigarette smoking, a reduction in physical activity, and fewer visits to physicians. More importantly, we find that most of the effects associated with changes in hours can be attributed to the changes in the extensive margin of employment. Increases in wages are associated with greater consumption of cigarettes.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15737

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