The effect of regional economic decline on population health: evidence from the closure of military bases
We examine the effect of regional economic decline on population health.
Economic decline and a shrinking population can affect health for example through a thinning out of local infrastructure, reduced employment opportunities, and reduced support from children or other potential caregivers who might have moved away.
While previous studies have found a correlation between regional economic decline and higher mortality, the literature on the causal effect of regional economic decline on population health is quite limited.
We exploit the closure of military bases, which caused a major economic shock in many rural regions throughout Germany. Traditionally, military bases represented an important source of spending power and (civilian) employment in rural Germany. In the past decades, reductions in military personnel have led to the closure of numerous military bases.