The Effect of Economic Recession on Health and Health Care Service Utilization of Elderly: Comparisons among Welfare State Regimes

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


The economic crisis that began in 2008, also called the “The Great Recession”, has had a significant impact on the well-being of the population. While some researches have been carried out to assess the effect of economic crisis on health and well-being, few has focused on the elderly. Welfare states, at a time of individual financial crisis, provide health care, long-term care services, and preventive care, and allow individuals to access to necessary services, so that individual health may not be negatively affected. However, it is not clear how well welfare states can buffer the impact of global economic recessions on the elderly. Thus, this research intends to: 1) asses the extent of influence of economic recession on use of health services and health among the elderly; 2) to compare the effectiveness of welfare states in moderating the effect of economic recession among the elderly, i.e. which type of welfare regime may be most effective in buffering the impact of economic recession on service utilization among the elderly. Data for this research will come from Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). SHARE is a multidisciplinary and cross-national panel database on health, socio-economic status and social and family networks of more than 45,000 individuals aged 50 or over. SHARE data provides excellent longitudinal data to observe the effect of 2008 economic crisis, with data collection in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Considering the nature of the repeated measurements, mixed models with unstructured covariance matrix will be constructed. Then, a series of random intercept models will be constructed to accommodate the correlated errors within. The models will be run for each welfare regime separately to explore possible welfare regime differences in moderating the effect of economic crisis. Interactions between each predictor and welfare regimes will be tested. As the global economy becomes more volatile with uncertainties, elderly are increasing at risk of facing financial crisis and unexpected loss of public services, as well as facing additional threat to health. Findings from this research can provide some evidence on the impact of financial crisis on elderly. It can also provide policy directions concerning what to do at time of economic crisis to minimize its impact on the elderly.
Effective start/end date8/1/147/31/15


  • elderly
  • economic recession
  • health
  • health services utilization
  • welfare state


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