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National macroeconomic policy decisions have a substantial effect on the health status of a nation's population. Research in both industrialized and newly industrialized countries have shown a lagged positive relationship between the unemployment rate, (an indicator of recession) and mortality due to several causes, particularly cardiovascular diseases. That relationship has been found at the national, regional, and individual level. However, the relationship has not been fully appreciated by policymakers, and those social costs have traditionally not been measured by economists. This paper reviews some of the major studies that have demonstrated the unemployment/mortality relationship. Policymakers In industrializing nations need to consider this fundamental relationship between unemployment and mortality as they design and implement national development strategies.