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Laura KHOURI (Norwegian School of Economics), “Prison, Mental Health and Family Spillovers “
The Macroeconomics Seminar:
Time: 12:15 pm – 13:30 pm
Date: 22th of November 2021
Room : 1003
Laura KHOURI (Norwegian School of Economics), “Prison, Mental Health and Family Spillovers ”
Abstract : Mental health is known to impact multiple longer run education and labor market outcomes. Correlational evidence has shown that the prevalence of mental health issues is much higher in the inmate population than in the general population, but it remains silent on causality. We exploit the strengths of the Norwegian setting and the richness of the data to accurately measure the impact of incarceration on the health of the defendants and their family members. First, we use an event-study design around the case decision event. The event study is complemented with an instrumental variable (IV) strategy that takes advantage of the random assignment of criminal cases to judges who differ in their leniency. Both methods consistently show that the positive correlation is misleading: incarceration has a negative impact on the prevalence of mental health disorders among defendants as measured by mental-health related visits to health care professionals. We further demonstrate that this effect lasts post release and is unlikely to be fully driven by a shift in health care demand. Family members also experience positive spillovers on their mental health, especially spouses. Assessing mechanisms, we find suggestive evidence of the positive role of in-prison mental health programs and milder prison conditions in improving mental health.
Grégory CORCOS (Polytechnique-CREST)