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Economic fluctuations and health outcome: a panel analysis of Asia-Pacific countries

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The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of economic fluctuations on health outcome. By using data obtained from eight Asia-Pacific countries over the period 1976 to 2003 and a fixed-effects model to conduct the regression analysis, the results of this study indicate that unemployment rate is negatively and significantly correlated with total mortality and mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases, motor vehicle accidents and infant mortality. These findings are consistent with the view that health may improve during economic downturns. In addition, suicide is found to move countercyclically with economic fluctuations. Socioeconomic factors such as age and gender also play important roles in affecting the mortality rates. The results also show that unemployment has a stronger immediate and contemporaneous, rather than a sustained, effect on mortality rates. Finally, this study concludes that the effects of economic fluctuations on health outcome tend to lead to erroneous conclusions if the fixed-effects problems are neglected. The findings of this study shed some light on the link between economic fluctuations and health outcome and provide further international evidence on this issue.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Economics, Ming Chuan University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Publication date: 01 February 2009

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