A prescription for unemployment? Recessions and the demand for mental health drugs.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We estimate the relationship between mental health drug prescriptions and the level of labor market activity in the USA. Based on monthly data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of physicians and aggregated by US census regions, we find that the number of mental health drug prescriptions (those aimed at alleviating depression and anxiety) rises by about 10% when employment falls by 1% and when unemployment rises by 100 basis points, but only for patients in the Northeast region. This paper is one of the first to look at compensatory health behavior in response to the business cycle.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bradford, WD; Lastrapes, WD

Published Date

  • November 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1301 - 1325

PubMed ID

  • 23956154

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1099-1050

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/hec.2983


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England