Are recessions harmful to health after all? Evidence from the European Union

Athina Economou, Agelike Nikolaou, Ioannis Theodossiou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of national unemployment rates on overall age and cause-specific mortality rates in a panel sample of 13 European Union countries. Design/methodology/approach - A fixed-effects model is used to control for unobserved time-invariant characteristics within countries. In addition, controls such as lifestyle risk factors, urbanisation and medical intervention indicators, for potential confounders are used. Findings - Contrary to some recent evidence this study shows that there is a strong, positive relationship between adverse economic conditions and mortality. This is in contrast to findings about the US case. Originality/value - This paper revisits the issue of the unemployment-mortality relationship by utilising fixed effect models with controls for various indicators that are expected to affect mortality, in contrast to previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-384
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Economic Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2008


  • Death rate
  • Europe
  • Personal health
  • Recession
  • Unemployment


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