The Effect of the Economic Collapse in Iceland on the Probability of Cardiovascular Events

Kristín H. Birgisdóttir, Arna Hauksdóttir, Christopher J. Ruhm, Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir, Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir

NBER Working Paper No. 25301
Issued in November 2018
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics

We explore whether the 2008 economic collapse in Iceland and subsequent economic crisis affected the probability of ischemic heart disease (IHD) events, independent of regular cyclical effects attributed to typical economic conditions. We estimate linear probability models using administrative data on IHD events, earnings and balance-sheet status, as well as unemployment for all Icelanders aged 16 and older in 2000-2014.

We find that the sharp change in economic conditions in 2008 had a positive long-term effect on the probability of cardiovascular events in both males and females. In absolute terms these effects were small but often statistically significant and contrast with the finding that general business-cycle fluctuations operated in the opposite direction. Several potential mediators were correlated with the probability of IHD events, but their inclusion had little effect on the estimated economic crisis coefficients. A statistically significant business-cycle effect is found for both genders indicating. Thus the general business cycle and the economic collapse in 2008 and subsequent crisis can be thought of as separate phenomena with differing effects on IHD. This research contributes to the literature by exploiting a unique circumstance affecting a whole population to explore its effects on individuals, using exceptional register data.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25301

Published: Kristín Helga Birgisdóttir & Arna Hauksdóttir & Christopher Ruhm & Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir & Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir, 2020. "The effect of the economic collapse in Iceland on the probability of cardiovascular events," Economics & Human Biology, .

NBER Videos

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

Contact Us