DP16640 Mental Health Therapy as a Core Strategy for Increasing Human Capital: Evidence from Ghana
|Author(s):||Nathan Barker, Gharad Bryan, Dean S. Karlan, Angela Ofori-Atta, Christopher Udry|
|Publication Date:||October 2021|
|Programme Areas:||Labour Economics, Public Economics, Development Economics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16640|
We study the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for individuals selected from the general population of poor households in rural Ghana. Results from 2-3 months after a randomized intervention show strong impacts on mental and physical health, cognitive and socioemotional skills, and downstream economic outcomes. We find no evidence of heterogeneity by baseline mental distress; we argue that this is because CBT can improve human capital for a general population of poor individuals through two pathways. First, CBT reduces vulnerability to deteriorating mental health; and second, CBT directly improves bandwidth, increasing cognitive and socioemotional skills and hence economic outcomes.