What is it about?

Using US state-level data for 1974 to 2003, this article estimates a relationship that describes both the transitory and permanent effects of unemployment rates on mortality. It shows that the transitory effect of increasing unemployment rates is to decrease mortality. The permanent effect of increasing unemployment rates is to increase mortality. The detrimental effects of higher unemployment rates on health take a long time to become visible. The permanent scars of unemployment on population health are detrimental and overwhelming. They dwarf any opposite and transitory effects.

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Why is it important?

Particularly in a time of significant economic upheaval from COVID-19, the secondary effects on mortality by closing down the economy need to be understood. This paper examines the short- and long-run effects of unemployment and lower income on mortality in developed economies.


This is a particularly relevant paper right now during the COVID-19 crisis.

Professor Keith A Bender
University of Aberdeen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A reappraisal of the unemployment–mortality relationship: Transitory and permanent effects, Journal of Public Health Policy, October 2014, Nature,
DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2014.40.
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