Are Recessions Good for People's Health?

Kamchowder's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 622

Hey Monkeys,
I just read this article about whether or not recessions are good for people's health.
According to several researchers, mortality decreases during recessions, but this might be inaccurate.

Some researchers have found that death rates fall during recessions. But a new study argues such findings may be distorted by migration, as people move away from places that have fallen on hard times and flock to places with booming economies.


Below are some of the rationale for why recessions are bad for health, then some rationale for why they are good for health.

It's the latest chapter in an ongoing debate among economists about whether recessions are good or bad in terms of health outcomes. On the one hand, job loss can mean stress and depression, increased substance abuse and the loss of health insurance. On the other hand, unemployed people may benefit from having more time to exercise; less money to spend on alcohol, cigarettes and other vices; and no need to drive to work, reducing the number of fatal car crashes.

"There is considerable evidence that harmful behaviors - like heavy drinking and smoking - decrease in bad economic times, whereas health-enhancing activities such as exercise and social interactions increase," University of Virginia economist Christopher Ruhm wrote in a 2015 study. The study described a procyclical relationship between business cycles and death rates: U.S. mortality rises during expansions and falls during recessions.

But the new working paper, distributed in June by the National Bureau of Economic Research, argued that migration can distort the picture. For instance, when people move away from regions experiencing an economic downturn, annual population estimates may not fully capture that movement, skewing mortality-rate data. Economic booms could also attract an influx of young, healthy workers, affecting regional mortality rates by changing the local population's demographics.
Adjusting for those factors, the three economists said mortality appeared to increase rather than decline during the British textile-region downturn, and there was "little evidence...that the Appalachian coal boom had any real effect on underlying population mortality."


After reading the article, I still believe that recessions do not benefit health or decrease mortality rates. I agree that, as a general rule, alcohol and cigarette consumption decreases during a recession and that unemployed people have more time, but I struggle to see how that offsets the impact of stress. In addition, the article states that a few economists agree that recessions do not necessarily make people healthier.

Thoughts?
Do you think that recessions generally make people healthier?
Do you think that recessions make you healthier?

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Comments (27)

Best Response
Aug 2, 2017

I've heard about people who kill them selves during a recession so I say no.

    • 4
Aug 2, 2017

and yet the article didn't mention any of that...

Aug 2, 2017

I don't think suicide should be seen as some big tragedy. Weak people are just weeding themselves out in an overpopulated, soft world.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 3
    • 4
Aug 2, 2017
Pump and Dump:

I've heard about people who kill them selves during a recession so I say no.

Its hard to say, because the recession may have just been a catalyst. If there was no recession, these people still might have clinical depression or a chemical imbalance causing them to face another catalyst and still commit suicide.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 2, 2017

Even if you can prove some decent correlation, then what? Useless study/discussion/whatever and not interesting enough to armchair philosophize

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 1
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Aug 2, 2017

Coping mechanisms are what people use to deal with adverse situations and environments.

Good health typically comes from healthy living, healthy eating, and healthy coping mechanisms.

Recessions may affect nutrition to a certain extent, but certainly not as much in developed countries as third world countries.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 2, 2017

The dust bowl got the country in the best shape of their lives to fight and win 2 world wars so...

    • 1
Aug 3, 2017
TippyTop11:

The dust bowl got the country in the best shape of their lives to fight and win 2 world wars so...

As strange as it may seem it seems that Americans need a kick in the a$$ every now and then to get us out of our comfort zones. Sadly I don't see my generation being able to do what those people who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in WW2 were able to do.

    • 1
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Aug 2, 2017

Side note: Michael Moore has been unaffected by any recession - ever

Aug 4, 2017

Its not at all. Recession is not good for people's health.

    • 2
Aug 4, 2017

The only people that think recessions are good are people like myself with large amounts of capital, waiting for buying opportunities resulting from everyone else's poor investing decisions.

For everyone else, it negatively affects every part of their life. Whoever wrote this article is a twit who's just trying to get attention to their name.

    • 1
Aug 2, 2017

40% of trannie kill themselves

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.