Economic cycle and public health: the moderating role of health education and the digital economy

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Before Public Health. 2022 Jan 11;9:793404. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.793404. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

The cyclicality of public health in the emerging market is under-explored in the existing literature. In this study, we used a fixed-effects model and provincial data to document how public health varies with the economic cycle in China over the period 2010-2019. The estimated results showed that the business cycle is negatively correlated with infectious disease mortality, a public health proxy variable, indicating that public health exhibits a countercyclical pattern in China. Additionally, we investigated the potential moderating role of public health education and the development of the digital economy in the relationship between the business cycle and public health. Our results suggest that public health education and the development of the digital economy can mitigate the damage of economic conditions on public health in China. Health education helps the public to acquire more professional knowledge about diseases and thus induces effective preventions. Compared with traditional economic growth, the development of digital economy can avoid environmental pollution that affects public health. Also, it ensures that cutting-edge medical services are available to the public through eHealth. Additionally, digitization ensures that remote working is practical and reduces close contact during outbreaks such as COVID-19. The conclusions hold when subjected to several endogeneity and robustness checks. Therefore, the document implies that these improvements in public health education and digitalization can help the government to promote public health.

PMID:35087786 | PMC: PMC8787688 | DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2021.793404

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