Mental Health Shocks and Housing Insecurity

Hope Corman, Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Marah A. Curtis, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kelly Noonan, Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

This paper uses survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to estimate the effects of a shock in mental health — postpartum depression, which is defined as moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth — on family housing insecurity. We consider homelessness, the most severe form of housing instability, as well as 6 other housing hardships that focus on quality, crowding and stability. We will exploit this arguably exogenous shock, explore exogeneity assumptions, use rich control variables, and employ econometric techniques designed to address potential endogeneity that may remain. The findings will establish the importance of family health events in trigging housing insecurity, which represents deprivation of a basic and essential aspect of human well-being, and point to potential opportunities for the targeting of policies and programmatic interventions.

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Presented in Poster Session 5