NBER Working Papers by Karen Norberg

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Working Papers

February 2007Anti-depressants and Suicide
with Jens Ludwig, Dave E. Marcotte: w12906
Does drug treatment for depression with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase or decrease the risk of completed suicide? The question is important in part because of recent government warnings that question the safety of SSRIs, one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world. While there are plausible clinical and behavioral arguments that SSRIs could have either positive or negative effects on suicide, randomized clinical trials have not been very informative because of small samples and other problems. In this paper we use data from 26 countries for up to 25 years to estimate the effect of SSRI sales on suicide mortality using just the variation in SSRI sales that can be explained by cross-country variation in the growth of drug sales more generally. We ...

Published: Ludwig, Jens & Marcotte, Dave E. & Norberg, Karen, 2009. "Anti-depressants and suicide," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 659-676, May. citation courtesy of

November 2004Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth
If two-parent care has different consequences for the reproductive success of sons and daughters, then natural selection may favor adjustment of the sex ratio at birth according to circumstances that forecast later family structure. In humans, this partnership status hypothesis predicts fewer sons among extra-pair conceptions, but the rival "attractiveness" hypothesis predicts more sons among extra-pair conceptions, and the "fixed phenotype" hypothesis predicts a constant probability of having a son, regardless of partnership status. In a sample of 86,436 human births pooled from five US population-based surveys, I find 51.5% male births reported by respondents who were living with a spouse or partner before the child's conception or birth, and 49.9% male births reported by respondents who...

Published: K. Norberg, 2004. "Partnership status and the human sex ratio at birth," Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 271(1555), pages 2403-2410.

May 2000Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide
with David M. Cutler, Edward Glaeser: w7713
Suicide rates among youths aged 15-24 have tripled in the past half-century, even as rates for adults and the elderly have declined. And for every youth suicide completion, there are nearly 400 suicide attempts. This paper examines the dynamics of youth suicide attempts and completions, and reaches three conclusions. First, we suggest that many suicide attempts by youths can be viewed as a strategic action on the part of the youth to resolve conflicts within oneself or with others. Youths have little direct economic or familial power, and in such a situation, self-injury can be used to signal distress or to encourage a response by others. Second, we present evidence for contagion effects. Youths who have a friend or family member who attempts or commits suicide are more likely to att...

Published: Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide, David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser, Karen E. Norberg. in Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, Gruber. 2001

October 1998The Effects of Daycare Reconsidered
Do children of employed mothers differ from other children, even before mother's (re)entry to the labor force? Preexisting differences among children may be an alternative explanation for many apparent daycare outcome effects. Data from the 1994 wave of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth were available for 6603 singleton infants followed from birth. Mothers of children with intrauterine growth retardation, birth defects, or extended hospitalization at birth began working significantly later after the birth of the child, and mothers of infants with higher development scores and more difficult temperament, and mothers of healthy premature infants, began working significantly earlier. The associations with newborn health persisted when the comparisons were made among siblings. The mag...

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