Exploring the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and problem drinking as captured by Google searches in the US
Paul Frijters (),
David Johnston (),
Grace Lordan () and
Social Science & Medicine, 2013, vol. 84, issue C, 61-68
There is considerable policy interest in the impact of macroeconomic conditions on health-related behaviours and outcomes. This paper sheds new light on this issue by exploring the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and an indicator of problem drinking derived from state-level data on alcoholism-related Google searches conducted in the US over the period 2004–2011. We find the current recessionary period coincided with an almost 20% increase in alcoholism-related searches. Controlling for state and time-effects, a 5% rise in unemployment is followed in the next 12 months by an approximate 15% increase in searches. The use of Internet searches to inform on health-related behaviours and outcomes is in its infancy; but we suggest that the data provides important real-time information for policy-makers and can help to overcome the under-reporting in surveys of sensitive information.
Keywords: United States; Recession; Alcoholism; Global financial crisis; Google insights (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Working Paper: Exploring the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and problem drinking as captured by Google searches in the US (2013)
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