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Does Education Shield Against Common Mental Disorders?


  • Johansson, Edvard
  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Martelin, Tuija
  • Pirkola, Sami
  • Poikolainen, Karí


The paper examines the causal effect of education on common individual mental disorders in adulthood. We use a representative population health survey and instrumental variable methods. The estimates point to mostly insignificant effects of education on common mental disorders. We find that the length of education reduces the BDI (Beck Depression Inventory) measure at the 10% significance level, but has no effect when using the GHQ-12 (12-item General Health Questionnaire) or the probability of severe depression as a measure of mental health. These results cast doubt on the view that the length of formal education would be a particularly important determinant of common mental disorders later in life.

Suggested Citation

  • Johansson, Edvard & Böckerman, Petri & Martelin, Tuija & Pirkola, Sami & Poikolainen, Karí, 2009. "Does Education Shield Against Common Mental Disorders?," Discussion Papers 1202, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:1202

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gruber, Harald & Verboven, Frank, 2001. "The evolution of markets under entry and standards regulation -- the case of global mobile telecommunications," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 1189-1212, July.
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    3. Heli Koski & Tobias Kretschmer, 2007. "Innovation and Dominant Design in Mobile Telephony," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 305-324.
    4. Grajek, Michal & Kretschmer, Tobias, 2009. "Usage and diffusion of cellular telephony, 1998-2004," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 238-249, March.
    5. Gruber, Harald & Verboven, Frank, 2001. "The diffusion of mobile telecommunications services in the European Union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 577-588, March.
    6. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2008. "A new approach to measuring technology with an application to the shape of the diffusion curves," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 187-207, April.
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    More about this item


    education; mental health; common mental disorders;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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