Essays on the economics of mental health and well-being

Bencsik, Anna (2020) Essays on the economics of mental health and well-being. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis investigates drivers of well-being and mental health in the contemporary United Kingdom, with a particular focus on the impact of crime and the relationship with child rearing. The first study investigates how the 2011 English riots impacted societal well-being. Using a daily response panel dataset on well-being and applying difference-in-difference analysis, I find that the riots caused widespread unhappiness across the country, especially pronounced in areas where they occurred, but present even in areas where no riot event took place. In locations where riot events occurred, their presence brought about changes in behavior as well, with an increase in watching TV and digital communication, and a decrease in face-to-face communication. The second study investigates the relationship between well-being and the arrival of one’s first child using two panel datasets and exploring the questions with a series of leads and lags. We observe a heterogeneous relationship. While longer term, cognitive well-being measures have a predominantly negative relationship with having a child, more recent, affective measures have a mixed connection, and in-the-moment well-being is pronouncedly positively associated with well-being. Gender differences are present, but in a mixed fashion, with lower well-being for women in cognitive measures and higher values in recent well-being. The third study, using micro-level spatial panel data, estimates, for the first time in the literature, the impact of violent and sexual crimes on stress for those in the neighborhood at the per-crime level. Applying secure data from the Thames Valley region of England for 2010 to 2017, I find that violent and sexual crimes increase stress for those in the vicinity, beyond that of the impact of the neighborhood characteristics in general. Furthermore, a gap between the time of the crime and the increased stress response, suggests the presence of a mediator of information. Collecting news data, I find that one of the channels is likely news media, where if a crime-related article is on the cover page of a daily newspaper, nationwide stress levels significantly increase.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0071 Economics as a science. Relation to other subjects > HB0074.A-Z Relation to other special topics, A-Z > HB0074.P8 Psychology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 15 May 2020 08:23
Last Modified: 15 May 2020 08:23

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