Drawing from a dataset covering 23 European countries from 1980-2013, we estimate the impact of unemployment on overall mortality and nine important causes of death using different statistical approaches. We confirm previous results of a pro-cyclical response of overall mortality to unemployment for people aged below 65, with an even stronger relationship after 2009 and with significant heterogeneity across sub-groups of countries. However, we found that estimates are fragile to changes in the assumptions in econometric models when cause-specific mortality rates are modelled. While it seems unlikely that our findings can be entirely explained by measurement issues we argue that the mechanisms that lead to the pro-cyclicality might be more complex.
Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2