DP4200 Individual Mortality and Macroeconomic Conditions from Birth to Death

Author(s): Gerard van den Berg, Maarten Lindeboom, France Portrait
Publication Date: January 2004
Keyword(s): business cycle, death, epidemics, health, life expectancy, lifetimes, longevity, recession
JEL(s): I10, J10, N30
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=4200

This Paper analyses the effects of macroeconomic conditions throughout life on the individual mortality rate. We estimate flexible duration models where the individual’s mortality rate depends on current conditions, conditions earlier in life (notably during childhood), calendar time, age, individual characteristics, including individual socio-economic indicators, and interaction terms. We use individual data records from Dutch registers of birth, marriage, and death certificates, covering an observation window of unprecedented size (1812-1999). These are merged with historical data on macroeconomic and health indicators. The results indicate a strong effect of macroeconomic conditions during childhood on mortality at all ages. Those who are born in bad times on average have a high mortality rate throughout life, in particular during childhood itself and at ages above 50. Current macroeconomic conditions mostly have an effect on youths and on the elderly.