Sure, It’s a Depression. Could Be Worse.

Matthias: Could be worse.
Centurion: What you mean "Could be worse"?!
Matthias: Well, you could be stabbed.
Centurion: Stabbed? Stabbing takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours. It’s a slow, horrible death.
Matthias: Well, at least it gets you out in the open air.
Centurion: … You’re weird.

     – Life of Brian (1979)

Gosh, but some economists are helpful. You’d think they’d be all gloom and doom about the current economy, with there seemingly nothing but bad news out there. But no. Some economics researchers can find a silver lining anywhere, even in the prospect of mass starvation.

Between 1996 and 1998, Russia experienced a spectacular decline in economic activity which was followed by a dramatic rebound between 1998 and 2000. We use panel data to examine the impact of variation in household resources on six dimensions of nutritional status, distinguishing longer-run from short-term fluctuations in resources. Nutritional status is very resilient to short-term variation in household resources. Gross energy intake, adult weight and child stature change very little as expenditure deviates from its long-run average. Longer-run resources have a substantively large, positive and significant effect on energy intake, diet quality, adult weight and child stature. The evidence indicates that individuals and households are able to weather short-term fluctuations in economic resources, at least in terms of maintaining body mass and energy intake.


   Nutritional Status During an Economic Crisis: Evidence from Russia

   Stillman, Steven; Thomas, Duncan

   The Economic Journal, Volume 118, Number 531, August 2008 , pp. 1385-1417(33)