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

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Author Info

  • Arnaud Chevalier

    (Department of Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NP, England Associate at the Centre for Economics of Education, London School of Economics, Geary Institute, University College Dublin & Institute for the Study of Labour, IZA, Bonn)

  • Leon Feinstein

    (Institute of Education, Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAL, England Associate at the Centre for the Economics of Education, London School of Economics, England)

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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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/GearyWp200715.pdf
File Function: Draft 4.3, 2007
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200715.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 08 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200715

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Keywords: Returns to education; mental health;

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Cited by:
  1. Kuhn, Andreas & Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2009. "The Public Health Costs of Job Loss," CEPR Discussion Papers 7420, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. Smyth, Emer & McCoy, Selina, 2009. "Investing in Education: Combating Educational Disadvantage," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS006.
  4. Silva, Olmo, 2009. "Some Remarks on the Effectiveness of Primary Education Interventions," IZA Policy Papers 5, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Philip A. Trostel, 2007. "The fiscal impacts of college attainment," New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 07-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Wooden, Mark, 2013. "The Marginal Income Effect of Education on Happiness: Estimating the Direct and Indirect Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Well-Being in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 7365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Hans van Kippersluis & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 0000. "Long Run Returns to Education: Does Schooling Lead to an Extended Old Age?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-037/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Steve Gibbons & Olmo Silva, 2009. "School Quality, Child Wellbeing and Parents Satisfaction," CEE Discussion Papers 0103, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  9. Jeffrey S. DeSimone, 2010. "Sadness, Suicidality and Grades," NBER Working Papers 16239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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