NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Mentally Spent: Credit Conditions and Mental Health

Qing Hu, Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Mingzhu Tai

NBER Working Paper No. 25584
Issued in February 2019
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance, Health Economics

In light of the human suffering and economic costs associated with mental illness, we provide the first assessment of whether local credit conditions shape the incidence of mental depression. Using several empirical strategies, we discover that bank regulatory reforms that improved local credit conditions reduced mental depression among low-income households and the impact was largest in counties dominated by bank-dependent firms. On the mechanisms, we find that the regulatory reforms boosted employment, income, and mental health among low-income individuals in bank-dependent counties, but the regulatory reforms did not increase borrowing by these individuals.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25584

 
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