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Brainstorm: Occupational choice, bipolar illness and creativity

Author

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  • Tremblay, Carol Horton
  • Grosskopf, Shawna
  • Yang, Ke

Abstract

Although economists have analyzed earnings, unemployment, and labor force participation for those with bipolar illness, occupational choice has yet to be explored. Psychological and medical studies often suggest an association between bipolar illness and creative achievement, but they tend to focus on eminent figures, case studies, or small samples. We seek to examine occupational creativity of non-eminent individuals with bipolar disorder. We use Epidemiologic Catchment Area data to estimate a multinomial logit model matched to an index of occupational creativity. Those with bipolar illness appear to be disproportionately concentrated in the most creative occupational category. Nonparametric kernel density estimates reveal that the densities of the occupational creativity variable for the bipolar and non-bipolar individuals significantly differ in the ECA data, and suggest that the probability of engaging in creative activities on the job is higher for bipolar than non-bipolar workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Tremblay, Carol Horton & Grosskopf, Shawna & Yang, Ke, 2010. "Brainstorm: Occupational choice, bipolar illness and creativity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 233-241, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:2:p:233-241
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frank, Richard G. & McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Economics and mental health," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 893-954 Elsevier.
    2. Filer, Randall K, 1986. "The "Starving Artist"-Myth or Reality? Earnings of Artists in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 56-75, February.
    3. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Tefft, Nathan, 2012. "Mental health and employment: The SAD story," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 242-255.
    2. de Grip, Andries & Dupuy, Arnaud & Jolles, Jelle & van Boxtel, Martin, 2015. "Retirement and cognitive development in the Netherlands: Are the retired really inactive?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 157-169.
    3. Bille, Trine & Fjællegaard, Cecilie Bryld & Frey, Bruno S. & Steiner, Lasse, 2013. "Happiness in the arts—International evidence on artists’ job satisfaction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 15-18.

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