Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

The Economics of Mental Health in the Developing World

in partnership with the South Asia Center and the Dept. of Economics

Gautam Rao
Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley
Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 12:00
Center for the Advanced Study of India Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science & Economics 133 South 36th Street, Suite 230 Philadelphia PA 19104-6215

About the Seminar:
Rates of depression and anxiety have risen around the world in recent years, particularly among young people. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, these common mental disorders were the leading cause of years lived with disability globally. Contrary to a commonly held view, the burden of mental health conditions is high also in low and middle-income countries and rates of mental ill-health are higher among the poor. This seminar will review the existing challenge and report findings from ongoing work testing the long-run health and economic effects of scalable, low-cost forms of psychotherapy to treat depression in India.

About the Speaker:
Gautam Rao is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley. His research brings insights from psychology to bear on topics in economics, particularly topics relevant to developing countries. His current research agenda is centered on the economics of mental health in developing countries. Past projects include studying how improving sleep affects the economic outcomes of workers in India, how the endowment effect influences consumer demand for collateralized loans in Kenya, and how mixing rich and poor students in schools in India affects social preferences and behaviors. Together with Frank Schilbach and Heather Schofield, he helps run the Behavioral Development Lab in India. He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a faculty affiliate at The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL). A former Associate Editor at the Journal of Political Economy, he taught at Harvard University before joining UC Berkeley.

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