Does austerity really kill?
Veronica Toffolutti and
Economics & Human Biology, 2019, vol. 33, issue C, 211-223
A growing body of the literature has argued that austerity has been bad for health, though without directly measuring austerity. This paper explicitly distinguishes the association of mortality with macroeconomic fluctuations from that with fiscal policy measures, using data for 28 European Union (EU) countries covering the period 1991–2013. The main results present a nuanced, complex picture about the mortality impact of fiscal policies. We confirm the mortality decreasing (increasing) effect of recessions (booms), with the exception of suicide mortality, which shows the opposite effects. Austerity regimes are associated with an increase in all-cause mortality (0.7%). At the same time, fiscal stimuli tend to significantly increase death rates due to cirrhosis or chronic liver disease (3%) and those due to vehicle accidents (4.3%). Our results are sensitive to the set of countries included: when excluding the Baltics, Romania and Hungary, austerity policies turn out to significantly increase suicide-related mortality (2.8%), while the effect on all-cause mortality remains unaffected (0.7%). Overall, however it appears that the austerity-increasing effects are mostly compensated by the (mostly) mortality-decreasing effects of recessions. A notable exception appears to be suicides, which receive a ‘double-boost’ from both recessions and austerity.
Keywords: Recession and health; Socioeconomic determinants of health; Austerity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:33:y:2019:i:c:p:211-223
Access Statistics for this article
Economics & Human Biology is currently edited by J. Komlos, Inas R Kelly and Joerg Baten
More articles in Economics & Human Biology from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().