November 2016

Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence from U.S. Counties

Justin R. Pierce and Peter K. Schott


We investigate the impact of a large economic shock on mortality. We find that counties more exposed to a plausibly exogenous trade liberalization exhibit higher rates of suicide and related causes of death, concentrated among whites, especially white males. These trends are consistent with our finding that more-exposed counties experience relative declines in manufacturing employment, a sector in which whites and males are over-represented. We also examine other causes of death that might be related to labor market disruption and find both positive and negative relationships. More-exposed counties, for example, exhibit lower rates of fatal heart attacks.

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Keywords: International Trade, Mortality, Trade Policy, Unemployment


PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: June 19, 2020