Assets, Local Conditions, and Stress-Related Health Outcomes

Amar A. Hamoudi, Duke University
Jennifer Dowd, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY)

Many plausible hypotheses have been proposed to account for the well-documented relationships among social and economic outcomes on the one hand, and health outcomes on the other. For example, some have proposed potential roles for physiological stress in translating financial insecurity or undesirable neighborhood conditions into deterioration of biological systems. We use local changes in residential property valuations to test these hypotheses empirically. We focus our analysis on American homeowners born before the year 1953. The key identifying assumption in our approach is that changes in housing values over the medium term are driven by factors that are unforetold and uninfluenced. We provide empirical evidence to shore up the plausibility of this assumption. Preliminary results indicate that property value appreciation has important impacts on several stress-related health outcomes; however, we find no measurable effect on overall mortality risk. We discuss two channels by which the effects we find may operate.

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Presented in Poster Session 1