Insights / Research BriefFeb 27, 2024

Lives vs. Livelihoods: The Impact of the Great Recession on Mortality and Welfare

Amy Finkelstein, Matthew J. Notowidigdo, Frank Schilbach, Jonathan Zhang
Recessions reduce mortality, driven largely by the external health effects of reduced economic activity (such as decreases in air pollution); this substantially reduces the welfare cost of recessions, particularly for older people and workers with less education.

¹Ruhm, Christopher J, “Are Recessions Good for Your Health?” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2000, 115 (2), 617–650.