Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Recessions in the Long Run

The paper by Christopher Ruhm (Are Recessions Good For Your Health?) has been mentioned several times on this blog. However, this analysis deals with short run outcomes. Many of the researchers in Geary would argue that the effects of adverse shocks can only be evaluated over the course of a life span.

Two papers by van den Berg et al argue this point.

Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality [AER, 2006]: van den Berg , Lindeboom & Portrait

Being born under adverse economic conditions leads to a higher cardiovascular mortality rate later in life – evidence based on individuals born at different stages of the business cycle: van den Berg, Doblhammer-Reiter & Christensen

In each case the authors find significant negative effects of being born into a recession. This raises concerns about focusing on the short run. It would be interesting to fast forward and examine the outcomes of the Irish babies born in 2007 v 2009, especially given the speed of the downturn in this country. Time machine anyone?


Cathy Redmond said...

These links are broken - I think that you can't link to a paper that you need permission to access - e.g. the journals we have access to through UCD. It's best to link to a page directing you where you can access it if you have permission. Do these papers hypothesize why there are these long term outcomes - due to inferior initial inputs, food, warmth, etc., or is it due to inital stressful environments?

Mark McG said...

Links are fixed. These papers aren't able to answer questions about precise mechanisms. However, the results (particularly the paper on CHD) are consistent with the predictions of the Foetal Origins Hypothesis outlined in the epidemiological literature.

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