Brainstorm: Occupational choice, bipolar illness and creativity
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.
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