Economic Instability and Child Health: Evidence from the Aftermath of the Great Recession

Ariel Kalil, University of Chicago
Lindsey J. Leininger, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

The Great Recession initiated a major social transformation in American life and understanding its consequences on children’s health is vitally important. Our paper examines these consequences using brand-new data: the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study – Child and Youth Study (MRRS-CYS). The MRRS-CYS is a primary data collection effort that gathered uniquely rich measures of family economic conditions and child health for approximately 450 children in Southeast Michigan over the years 2009-2011. The study is among a very few that can provide insights regarding the link between economic instability and child health specific to the most recent downturn – a key contribution given that extant findings based on less-severe business cycle fluctuations are inadequate for informing current policy. The paper will also explore whether the association between economic instability and child health differs for blacks versus whites, taking advantage of the roughly equal sample representation of the two racial groups.

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Presented in Session 28: Economic Downturns and Children's Outcomes