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The Economics of Gender and Mental Illness

ISBN: 978-0-76231-111-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-274-0

Publication date: 5 October 2004


Mental illness, in its various forms, is common in the United States. Tens of millions of Americans are afflicted by an episode of mental illness every year. Estimates of the 12-month prevalence of mental disorders in the U.S. (including alcohol and substance abuse or dependence) indicate that 22–30 persons per 100 in the adult population are afflicted each year.1 An episode of a psychiatric disorder, like a physical disorder, is debilitating – often disrupting the ability of the afflicted to carry on normal personal, social, and work activities. Mental illness also commonly results in large medical expenses. In addition, a number of recent papers have found that mental illness imposes large labor market losses on the ill, decreasing the likelihood of employment and limiting earnings for the employed.2 In particular, research by two of the authors indicates that depressive disorders cause significant reductions in the labor force participation of women and the earnings of both men and women.3


Wilcox-Gök, V., Marcotte, D.E., Farahati, F. and Borkoski, C. (2004), "EARLY ONSET DEPRESSION AND HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT", Marcotte, D.E. and Wilcox, V. (Ed.) The Economics of Gender and Mental Illness (Research in Human Capital and Development, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 27-51.



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