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The Effects of Depressive Symptoms on Earnings


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  • Attila Cseh*

    (Department of Marketing and Economics, Harley Langdale, Jr. College of Business Administration, Valdosta State University, 1500 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA 31698, USA
    Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies, University of Alabama, Box 870224, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA)

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    Conventional wisdom is that depression lowers productivity. The magnitude of this effect has been of interest to economists and other social scientists as well as medical researchers. In this paper, I take advantage of the longitudinal nature of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to investigate the effects from a dynamic perspective and to control for unobserved heterogeneity in a fixed-effects framework. Exploiting the fact that the data set provides information about depressive symptoms in multiple years, I am able to study how changes in depressive symptoms impact productivity. My results indicate that taking personality into account is important in estimating how depression affects wages. While ordinary least-squares results render a strong negative significant effect to depressive symptom measures (especially in the men’s sample), taking unobserved personal characteristics into account reduces the effects of these measures.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 383-409

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    Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:2:y:2008:p:383-409

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    Cited by:
    1. Kelly Noonan & Hope Corman & Nancy E. Reichman, 2014. "Effects of Maternal Depression on Family Food Insecurity," NBER Working Papers 20113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dahal, Arati & Fertig, Angela, 2013. "An econometric assessment of the effect of mental illness on household spending behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 18-33.
    3. Lizhong Peng & Chad D. Meyerhoefer & Samuel H. Zuvekas, 2013. "The Effect of Depression on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 19451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joseph J. Sabia & Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey DeSimone, 2013. "Sexual Violence against Women and Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 274-78, May.


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