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An economic heory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity

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  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

In this paper, I introduce depression to the economics of human health and aging. Based on studies from happiness research, depression is conceptualized as a drastic loss of utility and value of life (life satisfaction) for unchanged fundamentals. The model is used to explain how untreated depression leads to unhealthy behavior and adverse health outcomes: depressed individuals are predicted to save less, invest less in their health, consume more unhealthy goods, and exercise less. As a result, they age faster and die earlier than non-depressed individuals. I calibrate the model for an average American and discus the socioeconomic gradient of health and depression as well as the hump-shaped association of antidepressant use with age. Delays in treatment for depression in young adulthood are predicted to have significant repercussions on late-life health outcomes and longevity.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger, 2018. "An economic heory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 337, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:337
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    depression; depression therapy; health behavior; aging; longevity;

    JEL classification:

    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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