How Austerity Kills

Suicide, long correlated with high unemployment rates, is on the rise in the wake of government austerity. “People looking for work are about twice as likely to end their lives as those who have jobs,” note David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu in an opinion essay for the New York Times. The two conducted research on health trends in countries enduring economic crisis and found that gradual, targeted budget reductions are less deadly than sudden, steep cuts. Ongoing recession in many countries and numerous layoffs are no accident, but a result of rough across-the-board cuts by government leaders with “little regard to human costs.” Iceland’s gradual cutting proved more effective in lifting recession than abrupt reductions in Greece, which contributed to higher infant mortality rates among other health challenges. In the United States, cuts may contribute to increased binge drinking and reliance on anti-depressants. The authors urge policymakers to treat joblessness as a pandemic, with prevention less expensive than repairs. However, the wealthiest and most secure won’t escape the consequences of austerity measures on declining social health. – YaleGlobal

How Austerity Kills

Research demonstrates that steep, abrupt cuts impose social health costs and rising suicide rates; targeted, gradual cuts do more to reduce deficits
David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

 Click here to read the article in the New York Times.

David Stuckler, a senior research leader in sociology at Oxford, and Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist in the Prevention Research Center at Stanford, are the authors of “The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills.”

© 2013 The New York Times Company