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Early Life Circumstance and Mental Health in Ghana

  • Achyuta Adhvaryu
  • James Fenske
  • Anant Nyshadham

We study the origins of adult mental health using early life income fluctuations. Combining a time series of real producer prices of cocoa with a nationally representative household survey in Ghana, we show that a one standard deviation rise in the cocoa price in early life decreases the likelihood of severe mental distress in adulthood by 3 percentage points (or half the mean prevalence) for cohorts born in cocoa-producing regions relative to other regions. Impacts on related personality traits are consistent with this result. Maternal nutrition, reinforcing childhood investments, and adult circumstance are operative channels of impact.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2014-03.

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Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2014-03
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