Saturday, July 28, 2012

Una recessió saludable?

ARE RECESSIONS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH BEHAVIORS? IMPACTS OFTHE ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ICELAND

Els animals s'adapten al medi, els humans també. I si el medi esdevé hostil, aleshores prenem precaucions. Si aquesta recessió ha portat a canviar els comportaments individuals cap a un estil de vida més saludable aquí aprop encara no ho sabem. A Islàndia en canvi ja ho han confirmat. Les conclusions d'un article de NBER són les següents:
The 2008 economic crisis in Iceland led to reductions in all health-compromising
behaviors examined—smoking; heavy drinking; consumption of sugared soft drinks, sweets, and fast food; and indoor tanning. It also led to reductions in certain health-promoting behaviors but increased others. Specifically, the crisis reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables but
increased consumption of fish oil and getting the recommended amount of sleep. Generally, the
effects of the crisis on health-compromising behaviors were stronger for the working-age
population than for the adult population overall.
Changes in hours of work, real household income, wealth, and mental health explained
some of the effects on health-compromising behaviors, ranging from 9% for smoking to 42% for heavy drinking. For health-promoting behaviors, these factors reduced the effects of the crisis only for fish oil and vitamins/supplements, by about one third. We inferred that broad-based factors—such as prices, which increased over 27% in Iceland between 2007 and 2009—played a large role in the effects of the crisis on health behaviors. We exploited our ability to isolate behavioral changes that are likely due, at least in large part, to price changes, to compute participation elasticities for the various goods. We found inelastic responses to price changes for alcohol and sugared soft drinks and elastic responses for smoking, sweets, indoor tanning, and fast food. Health-promoting behaviors revealed less price sensitivity overall compared to health compromising behaviors.
Així doncs semblaria que a Islàndia la recessió és força bona per la salut. En qualsevol cas, això cal agafar-ho amb pinces i no es pot generalitzar ni extendre temporalment més enllà de l'anàlisi feta. Més aviat diria que cal que ens preguntem si cal una recessió per arribar a comportaments saludables o potser ja va sent hora de fer-ho al marge de l'evolució de l'economia.
M'ha agradat això de conèixer l'elasticitat de la demanda abans i després, convindria calcular-ho per aquí aprop. Sabem que el consum retail ha caigut un 9,8% en un any i encara no sabem qué han prioritzat els ciutadans davant aquesta impressionant retallada en el consum domèstic.

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