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The FDA and ABCs: The Unintended Consequences of Antidepressant Warnings on Human Capital

  • Susan Busch
  • Ezra Golberstein
  • Ellen Meara
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    Using annual cross-sectional data on over 100,000 adolescents aged 12-17, we studied academic and behavioral outcomes among those who were and were not likely affected by FDA warnings regarding the safety of antidepressants. Just before the FDA warnings, adolescents with probable depression had grade point averages 0.14 points higher than adolescents with depression just after the warnings. The FDA warnings also coincided with increased delinquency, use of tobacco and illicit drugs. Together, our results stress the importance of mental health and its treatment as an input into cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of human capital.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17426.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as FDA and ABCs: The Impact of Antidepressant Warnings on Human Capital (with Susan Busch and Ezra Golberstein),J. Human Resources Summer 2014 vol. 49 no. 3 540-571
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17426
    Note: CH HC HE
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan & Lindsey Macmillan, 2006. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Non-Cognitive Skills, Ability and Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0073, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    3. Dave E. Marcotte & Sara Markowitz, 2009. "A Cure for Crime? Psycho-Pharmaceuticals and Crime Trends," NBER Working Papers 15354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2004. "Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation: The Case of ADHD," NBER Working Papers 10435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    6. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
    7. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F. & Rosenquist, J.Niels & Audrain-McGovern, Janet, 2009. "The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 578-597, May.
    8. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis & Melissa Osborne, 2000. "The Determinants of Earnings: Skills, Preferences, and Schooling," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-07, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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