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The public health impact of economic fluctuations in a Latin American country: mortality and the business cycle in Colombia in the period 1980-2010

Arroyave, Ivan, Hessel, Philipp, Burdorf, Alex, Rodriguez-Garcia, Jesus, Cardona, Doris and Avendano, Mauricio (2015) The public health impact of economic fluctuations in a Latin American country: mortality and the business cycle in Colombia in the period 1980-2010. International Journal for Equity in Health, 14 (48). ISSN 1475-9276

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s12939-015-0176-9


Introduction Studies in high-income countries suggest that mortality is related to economic cycles, but few studies have examined how fluctuations in the economy influence mortality in low- and middle-income countries. We exploit regional variations in gross domestic product per capita (GDPpc) over the period 1980-2010 in Colombia to examine how changes in economic output relate to adult mortality. Methods Data on the number of annual deaths at ages 20 years and older (n=3,506,600) from mortality registries, disaggregated by age groups, sex and region, were linked to population counts for the period 1980–2010. We used region fixed effect models to examine whether changes in regional GDPpc were associated with changes in mortality. We carried out separate analyses for the periods 1980–1995 and 2000–2010 as well as by sex, distinguishing three age groups: 20-44 (predominantly young working adults), 45-64 (middle aged working adults), and 65+ (senior, predominantly retired individuals). Results The association between regional economic conditions and mortality varied by period and age. From 1980 to 1995, changes in GDPpc were unrelated to mortality in ages 20 to 64, but they were associated with reductions in mortality for senior men. By contrast, from 2000 to 2010, changes in GDPpc were not associated with old age mortality, while an increase in GDPpc was associated with a decline in mortality at ages 20-44 years. Analyses restricted to regions with high registration coverage yielded similar albeit less precise estimates for most sub-groups. Conclusions The relationship between business cycles and mortality varied by period and age in Colombia. Most notably, mortality shifted from being acyclical to being countercyclical for males aged 20-44, while it shifted from being countercyclical to being acyclical for males aged 65+.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 27 May 2015 14:15
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:02
Funders: European Union Erasmus Mundus Partnerships Program Erasmus-Columbus (Eracol), Rotterdam Global Health Initiative (RGHI), Universidad CES, Medellin-Colombia (grant No 2012DI09), European Research Council (ERC grant No 263684), National Institute on Aging (grants R01AG040248 and R01AG037398), Erasmus University, McArthur Foundation Research Network on Ageing

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