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

Holger Strulik ()

No 337, Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers from University of Goettingen, Department of Economics

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.

Keywords: depression; depression therapy; health behavior; aging; longevity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D15 D91 I10 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-hea
Date: 2018
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Journal Article: An economic theory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity (2019) Downloads
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