So, Recessions are Good for Our Health!!! By James Reed

This piece puts the case that recessions have surprising health benefits!

“In a just-published discussion paper we have examined the relationship between Australian unemployment and deaths over the four decades between 1979 and 2017 using administrative data sorted by state, age, sex, and cause of death.

Unemployment is a good proxy for economic downturns. As has been happening this year, unemployment goes up when the economy turns down.

On average we find no relationship between unemployment and mortality. In particular, we find no significant increase in suicide rates.

But we do find a significant effect on motor vehicle deaths.

The higher the unemployment rate, the fewer motor vehicle deaths.

In this respect, economic downturns save lives, mainly among young men aged 15 to 34.

We find that for each percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, 70 young lives are saved per annum.

Our estimates imply 425 fewer deaths from road accidents than normal in 2020 if the unemployment rate climbs from 5.1% to 10% in 2020 as predicted by the Reserve Bank.

Separate from our study, the Bureau of Statistics count shows that at times this year we’ve had fewer than normal non-COVID deaths.”

Well if I was not so tired and depressed from the recession I would try and put some counter evidence to this, but why kick against the sticks. Well, if a little bit of recession is good for us, then let her rip Boris, and bring on full zombie apocalypse economic collapse, which will be the healthiest thing of all, especially with no food, no medicines, and roaming gangs of cannibals. How could that not be good?

Oh, I did quickly find another article from The Conversation which argues the opposite:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked substantial damage on human lives and the economy in South Africa. But the impact of the measures used to combat the pandemic, such as lockdowns, have not been even. The pandemic has likely worsened the income inequalities that characterise the country’s economy.

Vulnerable populations such as low-income earners in informal and precarious employment have been most affected by job losses and the resulting income loss. Moreover, while COVID-19 has affected every facet of people’s lives, it is essentially a health problem. The loss of jobs and income is likely to result in reduced ability to access healthcare and a nutritious diet. This, in turn, will negatively impact on people’s health.

We recently conducted a study to estimate how closely health was related to income, in the context of COVID-19 in South Africa. We used data from the National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey, a nationally representative survey collected in May/June 2020.

The survey collected information on health, income and other relevant factors during the higher levels of the lockdown. We compared these findings to data collected from the same individuals in 2017.

We found that poor populations bore a disproportionately higher burden of poor health. This was the case in both 2017 and the COVID-19 period. A remarkable finding was that income-related health inequality in the COVID-19 period was about six times that obtained in 2017. This shows that income had a much stronger relationship with health during the COVID-19 crisis than before.”

There you go, one can argue basically for anything one wants with the magic of Coviddy. It is enough to make one giddy.



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Tuesday, 16 July 2024

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