Blog | Monday, July 18, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Paydays can lead to riskier behavior, death

Paydays increase mortality for a week because they fund behaviors that lead to traffic fatalities, heart attacks and substance abuse, according to a new study in press at the Journal of Public Economics.

To study the within month mortality cycle, economists studied four groups with known paydays: seniors on Social Security, military personnel, families receiving tax rebate checks in 2001, and recipients of Alaska's Permanent Fund dividends.

A large rise in mortality occurred, and it happened across a broad demographic base: young and old, low and higher income groups, and married and single people.

"There is increased economic activity after payday," said the economist who headed the study. "Some of the activity, like driving and trips to bars, will naturally increase risk. Many types of activities are also known to trigger heart attacks."

The economist discusses his results online.