Self-reported health in good times and in bad: Ireland in the 21st century

from Health Economics at on July 30, 2016 at 02:10PM

The Great Recession has renewed interest in whether and how health responds to macroeconomic changes. Ireland provides a convenient natural experiment to examine this since a period of sustained high growth and low unemployment – the so-called Celtic Tiger period- gave way to a deep recession following the economic crisis in 2008. We use data from the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey (SILC), to explore what happened to self-reported health over the period 2002-2014. While some sub-populations experienced pro-cyclical effects on self-rated health, in general we find no evidence that the proportion of the population in poor health was higher after the onset of the economic crisis. However a multivariate model implies that there was some effect at the top of the health distribution with a higher unemployment rate switching individuals from being in “very good health” to “good health”. Effect sizes are much larger for females than males.