- The Human Cost of Economic Crises
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- by Alexander, Marcus; Harding, Matthew C.; Lamarche, Carlos
- Policy makers rely on a mix of government spending and tax cuts to address the imbalances
in the economy during an economic crisis, by promoting price stability and renewed
economic growth. However, little discussion appears to focus explicitly on the costs of
economic crises in terms of human lives, especially the lives of the most vulnerable members
of society, infants. This paper quantifies the effect that economic crises, periods of
prolonged economic recession, have on infant mortality. Moreover, we investigate whether
different levels of public spending on health across advanced industrialized democracies can
mitigate the impact of crises on infant mortality. We find that economic crises are extremely
costly and lead to a more than proportional increase in infant mortality in the short-run.
Substantial public spending on health is required in order to limit their impact.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: April 22, 2009
- Field of Interest: International Economics
- Alexander, Marcus, Matthew Harding, and Carlos Lamarche. "The Human Cost of Economic Crises." Working Paper 2009-0009, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, April 2009.