Áhrif íslenska efnahagshrunsins á heilsufar - verkefni lokið

Fréttatilkynning verkefnisstjóra


The overarching objective of the project was to evaluate health consequences of the economic collapse of 2008 in the Icelandic population and to identify determinants of observed health changes. 

The project has resulted in 16 published papers and 5 manuscripts that are being finalized or under review. A number of young scientists have gotten their training under this grant, at the Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. levels, as well as including young and recently graduated economists who served as research assistants. The project has provided new knowledge on various aspects of business cycles and people's personal lives with health, health behaviors and the health environment as a main focus. This includes smoking, drinking, nutritional choices, sleeping, living situations, workplace safety, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, self-harm and suicide attempts as well as body weight. As the outcomes explored are numerous, it is not surprising that the business-cycle effect varies across behaviors and outcomes, with some being unaffected, others deteriorating in booms and yet others deteriorating in hard times. At the risk of overgeneralization we can say that health behaviors generally improve during hard times, partly due to increased time available for time-consuming health-promoting behaviors (such as sleeping), and less financial means to support costly health-compromising behavior (such as smoking). However, psychological effects may counter this to some extent, as health conditions related to psychological stressors are generally more mixed. Actual health is thus affected both by the psychological and behavioral factors that sometimes work in opposite directions.  Although determinants are partly psychological, changed incentives brought about by income and labor-supply changes played a role, as did changed prices due to the devaluation of the Icelandic Krona.

The already published papers of the project are the following:

(1) “Lifecycle Effects of a Recession on Health Behaviors: Boom, Bust, and Recovery in Iceland” (with Corman H, Noonan K and Reichman N) Economics and Human Biology 20 (March 2016), 90-107 - Formerly NBER Working Paper No. 20950. http://www.nber.org/papers/w20950

(2) “Health-income inequality: The effects of the Icelandic economic collapse” (with Ragnarsdóttir DÓ) (2014) International Journal for Equity in Health. 13 (50) doi: 10.1186/1475-9276-13-50

(3) “Business Cycles, Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease: Evidence from the Icelandic Economic Collapse” (with Ólafsdóttir Þ and Ragnarsdóttir DÓ) (2014) Blood Pressure 23(4), 213-221 

(4)“The effect of obesity, alcohol misuse and smoking on employment and hours worked: evidence from the Icelandic economic collapse“ (with Berndsen HH, Guðmundsdóttir BÞ, Gunnarsdóttir BA and Halldórsdóttir HJ) (2016) Review of Economics of the Household. 14 (2), 313-335;

(5) “The Effect of Job Loss on Body Weight During an Economic Collapse” (with Jónsdóttir S) (2014) The European Journal of Health Economics 15 (6), 567-576.

(6) “Gender differences in drinking behavior during and economic collapse: evidence from Iceland” (with Ólafsdóttir Þ) (2015) Review of Economics of the Household 13(4), 975-1001;

(7) “The Icelandic Economic Collapse, Smoking and the Role of Labor-Market Changes” (with Ólafsdóttir Þ and Hrafnkelsson B) (2014) The European Journal of Health Economics 16 (4), 391-405

(8) “The tax-free year in Iceland: A natural experiment to explore the impact of a short-term increase in labor supply on the risk of heart attacks” (with Olafsdottir Th, Hrafnkelsson B, and Thorgeirsson, G) (2016) Journal of Health Economics 49 , 14-27

(9) “An empirical analysis of the demand for sleep: Evidence from the American Time Use Survey” (with Ólafsson SP) (2015) Economics and Human Biology 19, 256-274

(10) “Sleep and the management of alertness” (with Zoega G and Ólafsson SP) (2015) Mind & Society doi:10.1007/s11299-015-0182-z

(11) “Health behavior in Nordic countries” (with Ulf-G Gerdtham) (2016) in Nordic Journal of Health Economics 4(1), 28-40.

(12) “Business Cycles and Workplace Accidents in Iceland 1986- 2011” (with Tryggvason Á) (2014) Icelandic Review of Politics and Administration 10(2), 399-426

(13) “Low Birth Weight, Small for Gestational Age and Preterm Births Before and After the Economic Collapse in Iceland: A Population Based Cohort Study” (with Eiríksdóttir VH, Bjarnadóttir RI, Kaestner R, Cnattigus S and Valdimarsdóttir UA) (2013) PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080499

(14) „Suicide attempts and self-harm during a dramatic national economic transition: a population-based study in Iceland“ (with Hildur G. Asgeirsdottir, Tinna L Asgeirsdottir,  Ullakarin Nyberg, Thordis K. Thorsteinsdottir, Brynjólfur Mogensen, Páll Matthíasson,  Sigruún H. Lund, Unnur A. Valdimarsdóttir, Arna Hauksdóttir) (2016) European Journal of Public Health DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckw137

(15) „Income-related inequalities in diseases and health conditions over the business cycle“ (With Asgeirsdottir, TL and Jóhannsdóttir, HM) Health Economic Review 7(1) DOI: 10.1186/s13561-017-0150-x

(16) „Economic conditions, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease: Lifecycle analysis of the Icelandic economic collapse“ (With Birgisdottir, KH, and Jonsson, SH) Health Economics Review 7(20) DOI 10.1186/s13561-017-0157-3.

Working papers are the following:

(17) "Stressful and traumatic life events and suicidality: Gender specific outcomes in a population-based study."  -Status: Completed. Submitted to a peer reviewed journal. (With Ph.D. student  Ásgeirsdóttir H.G.)

(18) Suicides before and after the 2008 economic collapse in Iceland - A population based study. -Status: Completed. Submitted to a peer reviewed journal. (With Ph.D. student  Ásgeirsdóttir H.G.)

 (19) „Macroeconomic conditions and population health in Iceland“ (With Ph.D. student Birgisdottir, KH) -Status: Completed. Submitted to a peer reviewed journal.

(20) „The economic collapse in Iceland: a natural experiment to explore the impact of economic cycles on cardiovascular health“ (With Ph.D. student Birgisdottir, KH) -Status: In progress. Data analyses and writing of a journal article underway.

(21) „Moving out of parental housing: is there a business cycle effect and why?“ (With Stefánsson, K and hired student Björnsson, S). Status - This paper is in manuscript form and has not yet been submitted for publication.

Heiti verkefnis: Áhrif íslenska efnahagshrunsins á heilsufar
Verkefnisstjóri: Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir, Háskóla Íslands
Tegund styrks: Verkefnisstyrkur
Styrktímabil: 2013-2015
Fjárhæð styrks: 19,77 millj. kr. alls
Tilvísunarnúmer Rannís:  130611

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