Health and the Economy
Economic well-being and macroeconomic conditions have been shown to be determinants of individual-level health and there is a large literature on the impact of economic conditions on health outcomes. The early literature on the topic documented improvements in health outcomes and behaviors within the U.S. when the economy worsens. Rising unemployment rates have been linked to better health measured in a variety of ways: death rates by cause, substance use, smoking, obesity, nutrition and exercise. At the individual level, analyses are complicated by the fact that health, in turn, effects economic well-being. The papers in this session contribute to this literature in a variety of ways adding evidence of the impact of debt, measured at both the individual and neighborhood levels on mortality, shedding light on the degree to which minimum wage changes may impact physical and mental health, and examination of the relationship between Medicaid expansion and labor market activity.