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Integrating Mental Health in Welfare Evaluation: An Empirical Application

  • Das Sanghamitra


    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Mukhopadhyay Abhiroop


    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Ray Tridip


    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

This paper presents simple measures of individual and family mental health indices based on axiomatic foundations and integrates mental health into a neoclassical model that allows for proper substitution possibilities in the family preferences and quantifies its significance in family utility. We find that mental health effects are far more important than the effect of consumption or children's schooling in determining family utility. We illustrate the usefulness of our approach by considering the case of HIV/AIDS experience in India. Using our approach, we find that while there are no significant differences in per capita consumption and schooling between HIV and NON HIV families, the welfare loss from HIV/AIDS are still considerably large due to the inclusion of mental health. Integrating mental health in a utility maximization framework helps us quantify this welfare loss.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 1-25

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:41
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  6. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. John F. Helliwell, 2006. "Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What's New?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C34-C45, 03.
  8. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
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