Money is Bad For You. Really Bad. Yes, That Bad.

Having more money kills people, a new NBER paper says. And not just winning the lottery ticket, but simply getting paid turns out to be bad for your health. Apparently the credit crisis’s wealth destruction is doing us a favor in terms of mortality.

The Short-Term Mortality Consequences of Income Receipt

William N. Evans, Timothy J. Moore

Many studies find that households increase their consumption after the receipt of expected income payments, a result inconsistent with the life-cycle/permanent income hypothesis. Consumption can increase adverse health events, such as traffic accidents, heart attacks and strokes. In this paper, we examine the short-term mortality consequences of income receipt. We find that mortality increases following the arrival of monthly Social Security payments, regular wage payments for military personnel, the 2001 tax rebates, and Alaska Permanent Fund dividend payments. The increase in short-run mortality is large, potentially eliminating some of the protective benefits of additional income.

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