How Does An Economic Crisis Affect Health?

July 30, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

With Greece on the edge of default and Spain and Italy not far behind, in addition to the perpetual fear about the implosion of China, we live in a world where the next economic crisis could happen any day. But how do these crises affect the health of the populace? The Economist reported on some research in the area:

  • In 2008 Iceland’s economy crashed, contracting by 15% of GDP.
  • This gave economists the chance to study what such economic contractions do to health.
  • Unhealthy behaviour fell – people stopped consuming alcohol, tobacco, sugary drinks and snacks. This is likely because a lot of these items are expensive, although the fact that McDonald’s closed down might have played a role.
  • However diets still got worse overall since Iceland has to import its fresh food and with the devaluation of the currency it became more expensive to do so.
  • In the end though people didn’t let their economic troubles keep them up all night – they slept more – and they also got married more.

To read more about the underlying economic principles behind each of these findings, the methodology of the study, the details of Iceland’s crisis, some of the other findings of the study, the researcher who got married, and to find out why economists are licking their lips, click here.

Source: The Economist