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Adolescent depression and educational attainment: results using sibling fixed effects

  • Jason M. Fletcher

    (School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Administration, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA)

This paper contributes to the literature on the relationship between adolescent depression and educational attainment in several ways. First, while cross-sectional data are normally used, this paper uses longitudinal data in order to defend against the potential of reverse causality. Second, this is the first paper in the literature to control for sibling-fixed effects in examining the relationship between adolescent depressive symptoms and human capital accumulation. Importantly, this eliminates omitted factors such as family and neighborhood characteristics common to siblings that affect both depressive symptoms and educational attainments (e.g. neighborhood crime, and family resources). Third, this paper examines the effects of both an indicator and scale of depressive symptoms and finds important associations with these depressive symptoms and human capital accumulation. Though the results cannot be given a causal interpretation, the findings show a negative relationship between depressive symptoms and years of schooling. The relationship appears to be driven primarily through increasing the chances of dropping out but may have small impacts on the likelihood of college attendance (conditional on high school graduation). In particular, preferred estimates suggest that a standard deviation increase in depressive symptoms is associated with a 25-30% increase in the likelihood of dropping out. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 855-871

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:7:p:855-871
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  1. Farahati, F. & Marcotte, D. E. & Wilcox-Gok, V., 2003. "The effects of parents' psychiatric disorders on children's high school dropout," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 167-178, April.
  2. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Childhood mistreatment and adolescent and young adult depression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 799-806, March.
  3. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  5. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of psychiatric disorders on labor market outcomes," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 64-81, October.
  6. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
  7. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
  8. Jason Fletcher & Barbara L. Wolfe, 2007. "Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation: The Case of ADHD Revisited," NBER Working Papers 13474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Behrman, Jere R & Pollak, Robert A & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Do Parents Favor Boys?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 33-54, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  12. M. Ruth & K. Donaghy & P. Kirshen, 2006. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Regional Climate Change and Variability, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  13. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
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