Impact of crisis on Icelanders health

A superb paper linking macro developments to individuals health  (cannot find free version).

It tries to estimate the impact of the crisis in Iceland on the health of citizens:

This study exploits the October 2008 economic crisis in Iceland to identify the effects of a macroeconomic downturn on a range of health behaviors. Using longitudinal survey data that include pre- and post- reports from the same individuals, we investigate the effects of the crisis on smoking, heavy drinking, dietary behaviors, sleep, and other health behaviors and investigate changes in work hours, real income, wealth, and mental health as potential mediators.

We also consider the role of prices in shaping health behaviors and compute participation elasticities for the various behaviors.

We find that the crisis led to reductions in all health-compromising behaviors examined and that it led to reductions in certain health-promoting behaviors but increases in others. The individual-level mediators explained some, but not all of the effects. We infer that price increases played a large role in the effects of the crisis on health behaviors.

The paper has a superb literature survey on the topic. The evidence is mixed with some papers showing that crisis impacts health behavior and others not. The idea of health being procyclical or countercyclical to business cycle is interesting.

This earlier paper on Iceland showed vists to doctors had increased:

Guðjónsdóttir et al. (2011) found an increase in the total number of visits to the cardiac emergency department in general and due to ischaemic heart disease in particular in the days following the address by the Prime Minister. However, this effect was not sustained over time and the authors concluded that it represented a short-term stress reaction.

Interesting. The PM lecture being referred was in Oct-08 declaring that economy is in deep distress.


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