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Adolescent Depression and Adult Labor Market Outcomes

  • Jason M. Fletcher

This paper uses recently released data from a national longitudinal sample to present new evidence of the longer term effects of adolescent depression on labor market outcomes. Results suggest reductions in labor force attachment of approximately 5 percentage points and earnings reductions of approximately 20% for individuals with depressive symptoms as an adolescent. These effects are only partially reduced when controlling for channels operating through educational attainment, adult depressive symptoms, or co-occurring illnesses. Further, the unique structure of the data allows for high-school fixed effects as well as suggestive evidence using sibling comparisons, which allows controls for potentially important unobserved heterogeneity. Overall, the results suggest that the links between adolescent depression and labor market outcomes are quite robust and important in magnitude, suggesting that there may be substantial labor market returns to further investments in treatment opportunities during adolescence.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18216.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Jason Fletcher, 2013. "Adolescent Depression and Adult Labor Market Outcomes," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 26-49, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18216
Note: CH HE LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, 01.
  2. Pinka Chatterji & Margarita Alegria & David Takeuchi, 2008. "Psychiatric Disorders and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication," NBER Working Papers 14404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Berndt, Ernst R. & Finkelstein, Stan N. & Greenberg, Paul E. & Howland, Robert H. & Keith, Alison & Rush, A. John & Russell, James & Keller, Martin B., 1998. "Workplace performance effects from chronic depression and its treatment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 511-535, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Fletcher, Jason M. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2011. "Genetic lotteries within families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 647-659, July.
  6. Frederick J. Zimmerman & Wayne Katon, 2005. "Socioeconomic status, depression disparities, and financial strain: what lies behind the income-depression relationship?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(12), pages 1197-1215.
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