Mortality and Economic Fluctuations in Sweden, 1800-1998

José A. Tapia, University of Michigan

Spectral analysis and other techniques applied to economic indicators and mortality rates in Sweden in the period 1800-1998 show an intense direct association between death rates and the harvest yield the preceding year until the 1880s. From the 1890s death rates start to fluctuate with the industrial economy in a procyclical oscillation that persists until the present, though considerably reduced in the latter half of the 20th century. These results confirm the procyclical fluctuation of mortality rates--found by other authors in the US and other countries--but they don't provide any evidence in favor of the hypothesis that attributes the increase of mortality during economic expansions to lagged effects of an economic slowdown 10 to 15 years before.

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Presented in Session 158: Economic Inequality