Economic Stress in the Short and Long Term and the Onset of Ischemic Heart Disease

Jonas Helgertz, Lund University
Tina Hannemann, Lund University

The study re-examines the link between income and Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD). In the paper, a longitudinal dataset on Sweden between 1982 and 2001 is exploited. This allows us to investigate the influence of the individual’s income in the short and medium term on the risk of experiencing the first IHD event. Furthermore, the study examines whether an individual’s absolute or relative income deprivation is the most important. Regression analyses suggest that income earned during the same year as the event is a strong predictor of IHD, estimates which we claim to be largely spurious. Indeed, when examining the effect of the individual’s prior earnings, including up to ten year lags, the effects disappear. Since behavioral characteristics omitted from the models would serve to overestimate the effect of income, we conclude that an individual’s income attainment should not be considered as exercising a causal influence on IHD.

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Presented in Poster Session 4