We study the origins of adult mental health using early life income fluctuations. Combining a time series of real producer prices of cocoa with a nationally representative household survey in Ghana, we show 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 other regions. Impacts on related personality traits are consistent with this result. Maternal nutrition, reinforcing childhood investments, and adult circumstance are operative channels of impact.
James Fenske (University of Oxford)
Date & time:
29 Jan 2014 13:00 pm
Internal seminars home