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Integrating Mental Health in Welfare Evaluation: An Empirical Application

  • Das, Sanghamitra
  • Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop
  • Ray, Tridip

This paper presents simple measures of individual and family mental health indices based on axiomatic foundations and integrates mental health into a neoclassical model that allows for proper substitution possibilities in the family preferences and quantifies its significance in family utility. We find that mental health effects are far more important than the effect of consumption or children’s schooling in determining family utility. We illustrate the usefulness of our approach by considering the case of HIV/AIDS experience in India. Using our approach, we find that while there are no significant differences in per capita consumption and schooling between HIV and NON HIV families, the cost of HIV/AIDS are still considerably large due to the inclusion of mental health. Integrating mental health in a utility maximization framework helps us quantify these costs.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 9945.

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Date of creation: 16 Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:9945
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  1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
  2. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Helliwell, 2005. "Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What's New?," NBER Working Papers 11807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  5. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2003. "Wealth, health, and health services in rural Rajasthan," Working Papers 253, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  6. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  7. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  8. Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Structural vs. atheoretic approaches to econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 3-20, May.
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