Economic Expansions Are Unhealthy: Evidence from Microdata [report]

Christopher Ruhm
2001 unpublished
This study uses microdata from the 1972-1981 National Health Interview Surveys to examine how health and medical care utilization fluctuate with state macroeconomic conditions, after controlling for personal characteristics, location fixed-effects, general time effects and (usually) state-specific time trends. The major finding is that there is a countercyclical variation in physical health but a procyclical fluctuation in the use of medical care. The patterns are somewhat more pronounced for
more » ... les, employed persons, and those of prime-working age, than for their counterparts, and the negative health effects of expansions accumulate over several years. The macroeconomic effects are larger for acute than chronic ailments and there is some evidence that mental health is procyclical, in sharp contrast to physical health. Finally, most previous research substantially overstates the negative effects of joblessness on individual health because it fails to control for the selection into unemployment.
doi:10.3386/w8447 fatcat:gadpgx2xjrcz5or7lajdks5bpe