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Open Access Open Badges Research

Can a bank crisis break your heart?

David Stuckler1*, Christopher M Meissner23 and Lawrence P King1

Author Affiliations

1 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Social & Political Sciences, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ, UK

2 Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, CB3 9DD, UK

3 Department of Economics, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA

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Globalization and Health 2008, 4:1  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-4-1

Published: 15 January 2008



To assess whether a banking system crisis increases short-term population cardiovascular mortality rates.


International, longitudinal multivariate regression analysis of cardiovascular disease mortality data from 1960 to 2002


A system-wide banking crisis increases population heart disease mortality rates by 6.4% (95% CI: 2.5% to 10.2%, p < 0.01) in high income countries, after controlling for economic change, macroeconomic instability, and population age and social distribution. The estimated effect is nearly four times as large in low income countries.


Banking crises are a significant determinant of short-term increases in heart disease mortality rates, and may have more severe consequences for developing countries.