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Sheepskin or Prozac: The Causal Effect of Education on Mental Health

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  • Arnaud Chevalier
  • L Feinstein

Abstract

Mental illness is associated with large costs to individuals and society. Education improves various health outcomes but little work has been done on mental illness. To obtain unbiased estimates of the effect of education on mental health, we rely on a rich longitudinal dataset that contains health information from childhood to adulthood and thus allow us to control for fixed effects in mental health. We measure two health outcomes: malaise score and depression and estimate the extensive and intensive margins of education on mental health using various estimators. For all estimators, accounting for the endogeneity of education augments its protecting effect on mental health. We find that the effect of education is greater at mid-level of qualifications, for women and for individuals at greater risk of mental illness. The effects of education are observed at all ages, additionally education also reduces the transition to depression. These results suggest substantial returns to education in term of improved mental health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0071.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0071

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Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

Related research

Keywords: Returns to education; mental health;

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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Kuhn & Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "The public health costs of job loss," IEW - Working Papers 424, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Hans van Kippersluis, & Owen O’Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2011. "Long-Run Returns to Education: Does Schooling Lead to an Extended Old Age?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 695-721.
  3. Warn N. Lekfuangfu & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Mark Wooden, 2013. "The marginal income effect of education on happiness: estimating the direct and indirect effects of compulsory schooling on well-being in Australia," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51552, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Philip A. Trostel, 2007. "The fiscal impacts of college attainment," New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 07-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Stephen Gibbons & Olmo Silva, 2009. "School quality, child wellbeing and parents' satisfaction," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 23654, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Smyth, Emer & McCoy, Selina, 2009. "Investing in Education: Combating Educational Disadvantage," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS006, September.
  7. Andreas KUHN & Rafael LALIVE & Josef ZWEIMÜLLER, 2007. "The Public Health Costs of Unemployment," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 07.08, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  8. Jeffrey S. DeSimone, 2010. "Sadness, Suicidality and Grades," NBER Working Papers 16239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Silva, Olmo, 2009. "Some Remarks on the Effectiveness of Primary Education Interventions," IZA Policy Papers 5, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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