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The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health

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Author Info

  • Cesur, Resul

    ()
    (University of Connecticut)

  • Sabia, Joseph J.

    ()
    (San Diego State University)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    ()
    (Georgia State University)

Abstract

While descriptive evidence suggests that deployment in the Global War on Terrorism is associated with adverse mental health, the causal effect of combat is not well established. Using data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we exploit exogenous variation in deployment assignment and find that soldiers deployed to combat zones where they engage in frequent enemy firefight or witness allied or civilian deaths are at substantially increased risk for suicidal ideation, psychological counseling, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our estimates imply lower-bound health care costs of $1.5 to $2.7 billion for combat-induced PTSD.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5615.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32 (1), 51-65
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5615

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Keywords: military service; post-traumatic stress disorder; depression;

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References

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  1. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin & Lan Liang, . "Do Adolescents with Emotional or Behavioral Problems Respond to Cigarette Prices?," Departmental Working Papers 2008-06, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  2. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
  3. Angrist, Joshua D. & Chen, Stacey H. & Frandsen, Brigham R., 2010. "Did Vietnam veterans get sicker in the 1990s? The complicated effects of military service on self-reported health," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 824-837, December.
  4. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of Psychiatric Disorders on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Engel, Rozlyn C. & Gallagher, Luke B. & Lyle, David S., 2010. "Military deployments and children's academic achievement: Evidence from Department of Defense Education Activity Schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-82, February.
  7. Meredith A. Kleykamp, 2006. "College, Jobs, or the Military? Enlistment During a Time of War," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 272-290.
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & John H. Johnson, IV, 1998. "Effects of Work-Related Absences on Families: Evidence from the Gulf War," NBER Working Papers 6679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Chris Rohlfs, 2010. "Does Combat Exposure Make You a More Violent or Criminal Person? Evidence from the Vietnam Draft," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(2).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
  2. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Fathers and Youth's Delinquent Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bruno Frey, 2012. "Well-being and war," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 59(4), pages 363-375, December.
  4. D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior," NBER Working Papers 18656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Olga Shemyakina & Anke Plagnol, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being and Armed Conflict: Evidence from Bosnia-Herzegovina," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 1129-1152, September.
  6. Jason M. Lindo & Charles Stoecker, 2014. "Drawn Into Violence: Evidence On “What Makes A Criminal” From The Vietnam Draft Lotteries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 239-258, 01.
  7. Sebastian Negrusa & Brighita Negrusa & James Hosek, 2014. "Gone to war: have deployments increased divorces?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 473-496, April.
  8. Ryan D. Edwards, 2012. "Overseas Deployment, Combat Exposure, and Well-Being in the 2010 National Survey of Veterans," NBER Working Papers 18227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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