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为何经济发展会导致人的寿命变短?

更新时间:2017-10-18 13:11:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How a Healthy Economy Can Shorten Life Spans
为何经济发展会导致人的寿命变短?

The health of a nation’s economy and the health of its people are connected, but in some surprising ways. At times like these, when the economy is strong and unemployment is low, research has found that death rates rise.

一个国家的经济健康与其人民的健康是存在着联系的,但关联的方式有着令人惊讶之处。在像目前这种时期,经济强劲、失业率低,研究却发现,死亡率在上升。

At least, in the short term. In the long term, economic growth is good for health. What’s going on?

至少在短期内是这样。从长远来看,经济增长对健康有益。这是怎么回事呢?

One study of European countries just before and during the Great Recession found that a one-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a 0.5 percent decline in the overall mortality rate. Other studies of Europe during different periods, as well as those of the United States, found a similar relationship between joblessness and mortality.

一项对欧洲国家的研究发现,在经济大衰退之前与衰退期间,失业率上升一个百分点与整体死亡率下降0.5%呈相关关系。其他对欧洲的不同时期、以及美国在那些时期的研究在失业率和死亡率之间发现了类似的关系。

This is counterintuitive, since economic growth is a major factor in higher living standards. When the economy is more productive, we have more resources to promote health and well-being.

这有违常理,因为经济增长是提高生活水平的主要因素。当经济的生产力更高时,我们有更多的资源来提升健康和安乐。

But a surging economy does more than generate greater income. An industrial economy also pumps out more air pollution as more goods are produced. Polluted air, it turns out, is a major contributor to the mortality-increasing effect of an economic boom. In their analysis of how economic growth increases mortality, David Cutler and Wei Huang, of Harvard University, and Adriana Lleras-Muney, of U.C.L.A., found that two-thirds of the effect can be attributed to air pollution alone.

但经济的快速增长不仅仅带来了更高的收入。工业经济在生产更多商品的同时,也制造着更多的空气污染。事实证明,受污染的空气,是繁荣经济体出现死亡率增长效应的主要因素。在对经济增长如何提高死亡率的分析中,哈佛大学的戴维·卡特勒(David Cutler)和黄炜、以及加州大学洛杉矶分校的阿德里亚娜·雷勒斯-穆妮(Adriana Lleras-Muney)发现,这种效应有三分之二都是空气污染造成的。

It’s a different story with agricultural economies. The Cutler, Huang and Lleras-Muney study, published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, found that mortality rates fall when such economies are growing. Before 1945, when agriculture was more dominant in the U.S. economy, growth was not associated with rising mortality either.

这是一个与农业经济体截然不同的故事。卡特勒、黄炜和雷勒斯-穆妮的研究由美国全国经济研究所以工作报告的形式发表,他们的研究发现,在农业经济体增长时,死亡率有所下降。1945年以前,当农业在美国经济中占主导地位时,经济增长与死亡率上升也不存在关联。

Other research published in the journal Health Economics supports the pollution hypothesis. In their analysis of the Great Recession in Europe, José Tapia Granados of Drexel University and Edward Ionides of the University of Michigan found that a one-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a one percent lower mortality rate for respiratory illnesses, as well as reductions in mortality for cardiovascular disease and heart conditions, which are known to be sensitive to air pollution. In countries where the recession was more severe — the Baltic States, Spain, Greece and Slovenia — respiratory disease mortality fell 16 percent during 2007-2010, compared with just a 3.2 percent decline in the four years preceding the recession.

发表在《健康经济学》杂志上的其他研究支持污染假说。德雷克塞尔大学的何塞·塔皮亚·格拉纳多斯(José Tapia Granados)和密歇根大学的爱德华·艾奥尼德斯(Edward Ionides)对欧洲经济大衰退的分析发现,失业率增长1%与呼吸系统疾病死亡率降低1%相关联,也与心血管疾病和心脏病死亡率降低相关联,人们已经知道这些疾病对空气污染很敏感。在经济衰退更为严重的国家——波罗的海国家、西班牙、希腊和斯洛文尼亚,呼吸系统疾病死亡率在2007年至2010年间下降了16%,而在大衰退前的4年里,呼吸系统疾病死亡率仅下降了3.2%。

Other factors contribute to rising mortality during expansions. Occupational hazards and stress can directly harm health through work. Some studies find that alcohol and tobacco consumption increases during booms, too. Both are associated with higher death rates. Also, employed people drive more, increasing mortality from auto accidents.

其他因素也对经济扩张期间死亡率的上升起着作用。职业性危害和压力可以通过工作直接危害健康。一些研究发现,酒精和烟草的消费在繁荣时期也会增加。这两种消费都与更高的死亡率有关。此外,有工作的人更常开车,导致他们的车祸死亡率上升。

During recessions, people without jobs may have more time to sleep and exercise and may eat more healthfully. One study found that higher unemployment is associated with lower rates of obesity, increased physical activity and a better diet. On the other hand, suicides increase during economic downturns.

在经济衰退期间,没有工作的人可能有更多的时间睡觉和锻炼,也可能吃得更健康。一项研究发现,较高的失业率与较低的肥胖率、更多的体力活动,以及更好的饮食存在关联。另一方面,经济衰退期间,自杀率上升。

Some recent work suggests that economic booms may have become less deadly and busts more so in recent years. This could be a result of less polluting production in modern, expanding economies, or of better medical care for those with conditions sensitive to pollution. Safer roads and cars, and less driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances, could also play a role.

最近的一些研究提出,近年来,经济腾飞可能已变得不再那么致命,而经济萧条则相反。这可能是现代的扩张经济体使用污染更少的生产方式的结果,也可能是为对污染环境敏感人群提供更好的医疗服务的结果。道路和汽车变得更加安全,在酒精和其他药物影响下驾驶的情况有所减少也可能对此有作用。

“It’s also possible that opioids and other drugs may have made recessions more harmful to health than they used to be,” Mr. Cutler said.

“也有可能是阿片类药物和其他毒品让衰退对健康的危害比以前更大,”卡特勒说。

Other analysis shows that although smaller economic booms increase mortality, larger ones decrease it. Japan’s economic booms in the 1960s and 1970s are associated with longer life spans there, for example. Serious and lengthy downturns — like the Great Depression — are associated with shorter lives, even as smaller ones lengthen them.

其他分析表明,尽管较小的经济增速提升了死亡率,但更大的经济繁荣却将其降低。比如,日本在1960年代和1970年代的经济增长与更长的寿命相关联。尽管较小的经济衰退能延长寿命,但严重且漫长的大衰退——比如大萧条——与更短的寿命存在着关联。

Wealthier nations are healthier nations, an effect seen across generations. People in their formative years — children and teenagers — are particularly sensitive to the economic environment. Conditions in utero can have lasting health and economic effects. Graduating from college during a recession can depress one’s earnings for a decade. People growing up during a strong economy are more likely to have access to resources and to develop skills and opportunities that promote health. These benefits can last a lifetime, increasing longevity.

更富裕的国家即更健康的国家,这一效应在几代人之间可见。人在成长时期——儿童和青少年期——对经济环境特别敏感。子宫内条件会对人的健康和经济状况产生持久的影响。在经济衰退时期从大学毕业能压低一个人的收入长达10年。在经济强劲时期长大的人更有可能获得资源,也更可能得到促进健康的技能和机会。这些好处可以持续一生,能够延长人的寿命。

In total, there’s little question that long-term economic growth broadly improves the human condition. But not everyone enjoys the gains equally. In the short run, economic expansions can cut short the lives of some.

总的来说,长期的经济增长在总体上改善了人类的状况,这基本毫无疑问。但并非所有人都能享受同样的效益。在短期内,经济扩张能让一些人的寿命缩短。

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