Career Effects of Mental Health

52 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2015 Last revised: 3 Oct 2015

Barbara Biasi

Princeton University

Michael S. Dahl

University of Aarhus - School of Business and Social Sciences

Petra Moser

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 21, 2015

Abstract

Case studies of successful entrepreneurs who are bipolar suggest a positive link between bipolar disorder and entrepreneurship. To investigate this link, we examine detailed individual-level registry data for Denmark, including medical prescriptions, for 2.4 million individuals. These data show that individuals who are at a higher risk of bipolar disorder are more likely to be self-employed and more likely to be incorporated. They are also more likely to become an executive in a young and small firm albeit not in other firms. Most strikingly, bipolar individuals earn 43 percent less on average and are 16 percent more likely to earn zero wages. But they are also 13 percent more likely to enter the 90th percentile of the wage distribution. To examine the potential effects of mental health treatments on wages, we exploit the introduction of lithium in Denmark in 1976. Comparisons of wage differences for cohorts who had access to lithium when they were 20 with cohorts who did not have access indicate that access to lithium eliminated the wage penalty for individuals who are at risk of bipolar disorder. In addition, their chances of entering the 90th percentile of the wage distribution increased by 6 percent.

Keywords: Mental health, creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, wages, pharmaceuticals

JEL Classification: M13, J23, J24, O31, I12

Suggested Citation

Biasi, Barbara and Dahl, Michael S. and Moser, Petra, Career Effects of Mental Health (September 21, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2544251 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2544251

Barbara Biasi

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

HOME PAGE: http://barbarabiasi.weebly.com

Michael Slavensky Dahl

University of Aarhus - School of Business and Social Sciences ( email )

Department of Management
Bartholins Allé 10
Aarhus C, 8000
Denmark

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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