Procyclical Mortality and the “Migration Bias”: An Investigation on the United States and Finland

Jose A. Tapia Granados , Drexel University

Studies have often found mortality oscillations in parallel with economic upturns and downturns. That mortality oscillates that way, procyclically, looks counterintuitive and many have considered this pattern as unproven. Recently it has been proposed that procyclical mortality (a) would be observable just in some economies and periods, for instance not in Finland; and (b) is actually an artifact due to a migration bias, unregistered migration leading to overestimation of death rates in areas or periods of expansion. We provide evidence of procyclical mortality in USA and Finland in the period since 1950 to the present and show procyclicality of deaths counts rather than death rates, which makes the “migration bias” an implausible explanation. The procyclicality of mortality is clearly stronger in USA than in Finland, but in both countries procyclical mortality is observable in working-age population, particularly young adults.

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 Presented in Session 198. Determinants of Adolescent Mortality