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  • Writer's pictureAlpesh Patel

How Economic Downturns Are Saving Lives

Updated: Apr 26

BREAKING work is killing you or how recessions could secretly be saving lives!


When economies slow down and enter a recession, something quite unexpected happens: fewer people die.


This surprising twist is mainly due to the decrease in activities that usually harm our health.


One significant factor behind this is the reduction in air pollution caused by less industrial activity and fewer cars on the road.


When the air is cleaner, it directly benefits everyone's health.


Integrating these findings into the way we understand economics changes the picture dramatically.


Typically, we view recessions as purely negative, focusing on job losses and financial strain.


However, when we also consider the positive impact on public health, especially in terms of reduced mortality, the overall cost of recessions seems less severe.


This perspective is particularly relevant for individuals who are less educated or older.


For these groups, a recession might not only be less harmful than we thought but could actually bring about some benefits, primarily due to the improvement in environmental factors such as air quality.


This counterintuitive phenomenon sheds light on the complex interplay between economic activity and public health, challenging conventional wisdom about the nature of recessions.

The surprising link between recessions and reduced mortality rates invites us to rethink our approach to economic downturns. By valuing health and environmental benefits alongside economic indicators, we can forge policies that promote not just financial stability but also the overall health of our societies.



Alpesh Patel OBE


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