Discussion paper

DP18950 (Breaking) intergenerational transmission of mental health

We estimate health associations across generations and dynasties using information on healthcare visits from administrative data for the entire Norwegian population. A parental mental health diagnosis is associated with a 9.3 percentage point (40%) higher probability of a mental health diagnosis of their adolescent child. Intensive margin physical and mental health associations are similar, and dynastic estimates account for about 40% of the intergenerational persistence. We also show that a policy targeting additional health resources for the young children of adults diagnosed with mental health conditions reduced the parent-child mental health association by about 40%.


Bütikofer, A, R Ginja, F Landaud and K Karbownik (2024), ‘DP18950 (Breaking) intergenerational transmission of mental health‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18950. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18950