The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10654-016-0152-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
This paper uses individual-level longitudinal data on working-age Finns to examine the health effects of economic fluctuations during a period of economic decline (1989–1996) and recovery (1997–2007) in Finland. We used a nationally representative, longitudinal sample formed by linking population, employment and mortality registers (n = 698,484; 7,719,870 person-years). We implemented a region fixed-effect model that exploits within-regional variations over time in the unemployment rate to identify the effect of economic fluctuations on mortality, controlling for individual employment transitions. Unemployment rates increased from 5.2 % in 1989 to 19.8 % in 1996, declining gradually thereafter and reaching 9.7 % in 2007. Results indicate that these large fluctuations in the economy had no impact on the overall mortality of most working age Finns. The exception was highly educated men, who experienced an increase of 7 % (Rate ratio = 1.07, 95 % confidence interval 1.04, 1.10) for every one-point increase in the regional unemployment rate during the period 1989–1996 due to increased mortality from cardiovascular disease and suicide. This increase, however, was not robust in models that used the employment to population ratio as measure of the economy. Unemployment rates were unrelated to mortality among females, lower educated men, and among any group during economic recovery (1997–2007). For most Finns, we found no consistent evidence of changes in mortality in response to contractions or expansions in the economy. Possible explanations include the weak impact of the recession on wages, as well as the generous unemployment insurance and social benefit system in Finland.
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1105 kb)10654_2016_152_MOESM1_ESM.docx
Gathergood J. An instrumental variable approach to unemployment, psychological health and social norm effects. Health Econ. 2012:n/a–n/a. doi: 10.1002/hec.2831.
Sullivan D, von Wachter T. Job displacement and mortality: an analysis using administrative data. Q J Econ. 2009;124(3):1265–306. CrossRef
Martikainen P, Maki N, Jantti M. The effects of unemployment on mortality following workplace downsizing and workplace closure: a register-based follow-up study of Finnish men and women during economic boom and recession. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;165(9):1070–5. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm057. CrossRefPubMed
Ruhm CJ. Are recessions good for your health? Q J Econ. 2000;115(2):617–50. CrossRef
Jantti M, Martikainen P, Valkonen T. When the welfare state works: unemployment and mortality in Finland. In: Cornia GA, Paniccia R, editors. The mortality crisis in transitional economies: UNU/WIDER studies in development economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2000. p. 351–69. CrossRef
OECD. Harmonised unemployment rate (HUR) (indicator) doi: 10.1787/52570002-en (2015). Accessed 28 Oct 2015.
Hoynes HW, Miller DL, Schaller J. Who suffers during recessions? NBER Working Paper 17951. 2012.
Hodrick RJ, Prescott EC. Postwar U.S. business cycles: an empirical investigation. J Money Credit Bank. 1997;29:1–16. CrossRef
Statistics Finland. Cost of living index. http://pxnet2.stat.fi/PXWeb/sq/635f78ba-c716-4e54-832e-bc10c5db104c (2016). Accessed 20 Mar 2016.
OECD. OECD list of social indicators. In: OECD P, editor. 1982.
Ruhm C. Recessions Healthy No More. NBER Working Paper No. 19287. 2013; August.
Avendano M, Berkman LF. Labor markets, employment policies, and health. In: Berkman LF, Kawachi I, Glymour M, editors. Social Epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press; 2014. p. 182–233.
Nickell S. Finnish Unemployment: a vew from Outside. Finnish Economic Papers. 1999;12(2):62–81.
Pehkonen J. Wage Formation in Finland, 1960-1994. Finnish Economic Papers. 1999;12(2):82–93.
Holden S. Wage bargaining and nominal rigidities. European Economic Review. 1994;38(5):1021–39. CrossRef
Stovicek K, Turrini A. Benchmarking Unemployment Benefi ts in the EU. Brussels: European Commission; 2012.
Braconier H. Coping with the Job Crisis and Preparing for Ageing: The Case of Finland. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2010. CrossRef
McKee M, Karanikolos M, Belcher P, Stuckler D. Austerity: a failed experiment on the people of Europe. Clin Med. 2012;12(4):346–50. CrossRef
Oreopoulos P, von Wachter T, Heisz A. The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 2012;4(1):1–29.
- Are some populations resilient to recessions? Economic fluctuations and mortality during a period of economic decline and recovery in Finland
- Springer Netherlands