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WashPost: 'Economic Growth Actually Kills People'

WashPost: 'Economic Growth Actually Kills People'

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By    |   Friday, 14 October 2016 03:23 PM

Although some studies suggest a connection between wealth and health, The Washington Post claims "it seems that economic growth actually kills people."

First claimed by University of Virginia economics professor Christopher Ruhm in 2000, he showed that when the U.S. economy is improving, people have more medical issues and die faster, but when the economy takes a downturn people tend to live longer.

"It's very puzzling," Adriana Lleras-Muney, University of California, Los Angeles economics professor, told Post. "We know that people in rich countries live longer than people in poor countries. There's a strong relationship between GDP and life expectancy, suggesting that more money is better. And yet, when the economy is doing well, when it's growing faster than average, we find that more people are dying."

Lleras-Muney and her colleagues, David Cutler and Wei Huang of Harvard University and the National Bureau of Economic Research, respectively analyzed more than 200 years of data from 32 countries. They confirm that mortality rates rise when a country's economic output is higher than expected.

Large booms like post-WWII America lead to longer lives, but during smaller booms adults are roughly one percent more likely to die. The researchers attribute the shorter life expectancy to pollution from increased factory output.

"As much as two-thirds of the adverse effect of booms may be the result of increased pollution," they found.

"If the pollution doesn't kill you in the short run," Lleras-Muney said, "then in the long run the increased income will help you live longer."

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Although some studies suggest a connection between wealth and health, The Washington Post claims "it seems that economic growth actually kills people."
researchers, economy, growth, kills, people
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2016-23-14
Friday, 14 October 2016 03:23 PM
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