New evidence on the impact of the Great Recession on health-compromising behaviours

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Using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing over the period 2004–2017, this paper explores the effects of the Great Recession and its aftermath upon health-compromising behaviours in adults aged 50 and over. We introduce new techniques into this area of research, namely dynamic random-effects logit estimators which control for initial conditions and correlated individual effects. We observe a lack of crisis effect upon the probabilities of smoking and being physically inactive, as well as of transitioning in and out of these behaviours. In line with other recent literature, this suggests that the relationship between economic recessions and smoking and physical inactivity may have broken down. Alternatively, the over 50s may have been protected from the crisis and subsequent austerity measures. Nonetheless, both the crisis and post-crisis period were associated with a lower probability of drinking frequently.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100980
Number of pages9
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Early online date19 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Great Recession
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Dynamic models
  • English older adults


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