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Liquidity, Activity, Mortality

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Executive Summary

The authors document a within-month mortality cycle where deaths decline before the 1st day of the month and then spike after the 1st. This cycle is present across a wide variety of causes and demographic groups. A similar cycle exists for a range of activities, suggesting the mortality cycle may be due to short-term variation in levels of activity. They provide evidence that the within-month activity cycle is generated by liquidity. The results suggest a causal pathway whereby liquidity problems reduce activity, which in turn reduces mortality. These relationships help explain the pro-cyclic nature of mortality.

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