Atlantic Economic Journal

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 243–257

Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Effects of Psychiatric Disorders on Employment

  • Pinka Chatterji
  • Margarita Alegria
  • David Takeuchi
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11293-009-9182-x

Cite this article as:
Chatterji, P., Alegria, M. & Takeuchi, D. Atl Econ J (2009) 37: 243. doi:10.1007/s11293-009-9182-x


Prior research on the disability burden of mental disorders has focused on the non-Latino white population, despite the growing size and importance of racial/ethnic minorities in the labor market and in the US population as a whole. This paper is one of the first to test for racial/ethnic differences in the effects of mental disorder on employment outcomes with data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies (CPES). We find that recent psychiatric disorder is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of employment for men of all racial/ethnic groups relative to non-Latino whites with the possible exception of Caribbeans. These findings are driven by the effects of anxiety and affective disorders. For females, only affective disorders appear to detract from employment overall. Much larger negative effects are found for Latino women with anxiety disorders.


Racial/ethnic minorities Mental health Psychiatric disorders Labor market outcomes 


I12 J24 J15 

Copyright information

© International Atlantic Economic Society 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pinka Chatterji
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margarita Alegria
    • 3
  • David Takeuchi
    • 4
  1. 1.Economics Department BA 111AUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.NBERCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance-Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA