Recessions and health revisited: New findings for working age adults

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Abstract

A series of influential papers have documented that state level mortality rates decrease during economic downturns. In this paper, we estimate the effect of education specific unemployment rates on mortality, which provide a more exact measure of the likelihood of being directly impacted by a recession. We find that the unemployment rate of an education group in a given state is positively related to mortality in that group. A 1% increase in the group-specific unemployment rate is associated with an approximately 0.015% increase in the group-specific mortality rate, which is consistent with the hypothesis that, while state-level unemployment may have indirect health benefits, being personally affected by a recession has a detrimental effect on health.

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