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Are We Overdiagnosing Mental Illnesses? Evidence from Randomly Assigned Doctors
Almost two in 10 adults in the U.S. and Europe are, at any moment in time, diagnosed with a mental illness. This paper asks whether mental illness is over- (or under-) diagnosed, by looking at its causal effect on individuals at the margin of diagnosis. We follow all Swedish men born between 1971 and 1983 matched to administrative panel data on health, labor market, wealth and family outcomes to estimate the impact of a mental illness diagnosis on subsequent outcomes. Exploiting the random assignment of 18-year-old men to doctors during military conscription, we find that a mental illness ...