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Early Life Circumstance and Adult Mental Health

  • James Fenske
  • Achyuta Adhvaryu
  • Anant Nyshadham

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.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 698.

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Date of creation: 26 Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:698
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