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Health Resilience and Economic Shocks: Analysis of Quasi-Natural Experiments Using Multi-Level Modelling.

Call details Starting Grant (StG) SH3 ERC-2012- StG. (HRES)

Principal Investigator: David Stuckler

Dondena Researchers: Veronica Toffolutti

Contract Type
: ERC Starting Grant 2012 (grant agreement no.: 313590)

Project Funding: € 1.358.013

Start Date: 2013-10- 01

End Date: 2019-09- 30

General Field of Research

One of the greatest contemporary challenges for the social sciences is to understand the human costs of the ongoing financial economic and debt crises that began to emerge in Europe in 2007. While much attention has focused on the economic dimensions of recessions in Europe very little work is being done to analyse the consequences of these events for health and well-being. There are widespread concerns that losses of housing jobs and income will have damaging effects on public health. Curiously however a growing body of social science research suggests that economic recessions may reduce death rates at a population level such as by lowering the number of road-traffic injuries alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions. Hence although there is universal agreement that economic shocks will affect health there is considerable confusion about what the direction of this relationship is. This project aims to understand two interrelated questions: How will the recent economic downturns affect health in Europe? What can be done to mitigate potential negative consequences for health from these economic shocks? To answer these questions the proposed research will draw on a secondary analysis of longitudinal household datasets and country-level economic and health data to estimate how job loss poverty debt and housing foreclosures affect health. Then drawing on a conceptual model of "resilience" the project will seek to understand why certain groups have experienced better or worse health outcomes than others in the context of recession. These studies will extend the authors' initial case studies of mortality in Europe revealing a rapid increase in suicide rates albeit with marked variations across countries linked to the financial crises of 2007. The research will have important implications for policymakers seeking to protect health from ongoing economic risks and budget cuts.