Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Integrating Mental Health in Welfare Evaluation: An Empirical Application

Das, Sanghamitra and Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop and Ray, Tridip (2007): Integrating Mental Health in Welfare Evaluation: An Empirical Application.

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Abstract

This paper presents simple measures of individual and family mental health indices based on axiomatic foundations and integrates mental health into a neoclassical model that allows for proper substitution possibilities in the family preferences and quantifies its significance in family utility. We find that mental health effects are far more important than the effect of consumption or children’s schooling in determining family utility. We illustrate the usefulness of our approach by considering the case of HIV/AIDS experience in India. Using our approach, we find that while there are no significant differences in per capita consumption and schooling between HIV and NON HIV families, the cost of HIV/AIDS are still considerably large due to the inclusion of mental health. Integrating mental health in a utility maximization framework helps us quantify these costs.

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