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The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market

Chad Cotti (), Richard Dunn () and Nathan Tefft

No 20, Working Papers from University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy

Abstract: We investigate how risky health behaviors and self - reported health vary with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and during stock market crashes. Because stock market indices are leading indicators of economic performance, this research contributes to our understanding of the macroeconomic determinants of health. Existing studies typically rely on the unemployment rate to proxy for economic performance, but this measure captures only one of many channels through which the economic environment may influence individual health decisions. We find that large, negative monthly DJIA returns, decreases in the level of the DJIA, and stock market crashes are widely associated with worsening self-reported mental health and more cigarette smoking, binge drinking, and fatal car accidents involving alcohol. These results are consistent with predictions from rational addiction models and have implications for research on the association between consumption and stock prices.

Keywords: stock market; risky health behaviors; business cycle; alcohol; cigarettes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E32 G1 I1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 48 pages
Date: 2013-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-hea and nep-mac
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Related works:
Journal Article: The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market (2013) Downloads
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