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Early Life Circumstance and Adult Mental Health

Author

Listed:
  • James Fenske
  • Achyuta Adhvaryu
  • Anant Nyshadham

Abstract

We show that psychological well-being in adulthood varies substantially with circumstance in early life. Combining a time series of real producer prices of cocoa with a nationally representative household survey in Ghana, we find 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 those born in other regions. Impacts on related personality traits are consistent with this result. Maternal nutrition, reinforcing childhood investments, and adult circumstances are operative channels of impact.

Suggested Citation

  • James Fenske & Achyuta Adhvaryu & Anant Nyshadham, 2014. "Early Life Circumstance and Adult Mental Health," Economics Series Working Papers 698, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:698
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/13248/paper698.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," NBER Working Papers 23017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Campaniello, N & Richiardi, M, 2015. "The role of museums in bilateral tourist flows: Evidence from Italy," Economics Discussion Papers 15638, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    3. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske & Namrata Kala & Anant Nyshadham, 2015. "Fetal origins of mental health: evidence from Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Powell-Jackson, Timothy & Pereira, Shreya K. & Dutt, Varun & Tougher, Sarah & Haldar, Kaveri & Kumar, Paresh, 2016. "Cash transfers, maternal depression and emotional well-being: Quasi-experimental evidence from India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana programme," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 210-218.
    5. Sonya Krutikova & Helene Bie Lilleør, 2015. "Fetal Origins of Personality: Effects of early life circumstances on adult personality traits," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. James Fenske & Igor Zurimendi, 2017. "Oil and ethnic inequality in Nigeria," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 397-420, December.
    7. Akresh, Richard & Caruso, German Daniel & Thirumurthy, Harsha, 2016. "Detailed Geographic Information, Conflict Exposure, and Health Impacts," IZA Discussion Papers 10330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Baranov, Victoria & Bennett, Daniel & Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2015. "The indirect impact of antiretroviral therapy: Mortality risk, mental health, and HIV-negative labor supply," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 195-211.
    9. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Prashant Bharadwaj & James Fenske & Anant Nyshadham & Richard Stanley, 2016. "Dust and Death: Evidence from the West African Harmattan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mental health; subjective well-being; early life; fetal origins; endowments; commodity prices;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Q02 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Commodity Market
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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