NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times

Erdal Tekin, Chandler McClellan, Karen Jean Minyard

NBER Working Paper No. 19234
Issued in July 2013
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE

Previous studies have shown that recessions are typically associated with better health and health behaviors. However, majority of these studies use data from the periods of relatively milder economic downturns that predate the “Great Recession.” In this paper, we examine the relationship between measures of macroeconomic conditions and a large set of outcomes of health and health behaviors using data from BRFSS between 1990 and 2014 with an emphasis on the period enveloping the Great Recession. Our results provide some support for the notion that weaker macroeconomic conditions are positively associated with health related outcomes, although the evidence is stronger for some of the outcomes (e.g., smoking and physical exercise) than others and is not present for some of the other outcomes (e.g., experiencing poor mental health) at all. But overall, the estimates are too small and imprecisely estimated to have any meaningful implications. Furthermore, the estimates become weaker over time and largely disappear in years prior to the period of the Great Recession and continues to remain small during periods enveloping the recession and the afterwards. Overall, we found no evidence that the Great Recession had a significant influence on the existing trends in health and health behaviors.

download in pdf format
   (1041 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper was revised on January 20, 2017

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19234

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Currie and Tekin w17310 Is there a Link Between Foreclosure and Health?
Ruhm w19287 Recessions, Healthy No More?
Ásgeirsdóttir, Corman, Noonan, Ólafsdóttir, and Reichman w18233 Are Recessions Good for Your Health Behaviors? Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Iceland
Coile, Levine, and McKnight w18361 Recessions, Older Workers, and Longevity: How Long Are Recessions Good For Your Health?
Mian, Sufi, and Trebbi w16685 Foreclosures, House Prices, and the Real Economy
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us