Economics and Mental Health: an International Perspective

Richard G. Frank

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238828
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

 Economics and Mental Health: an International Perspective

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  • Economics
  • Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Public Economics


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This article notes that problems of incomplete information are particularly salient in the context of mental health. It considers how different nations address economics and mental health in the formulation of mental health policy. It focuses on three key economic phenomena that are central to understanding the allocation of resources to the treatment of mental disorders. These are externalities, methods for efficient rationing of health resources, and incentives for allocating funds across different types of mental health services. This article provides some background on mental disorders and organization of mental health care in different OECD countries. It considers determination of mental health spending as part of health care rationing schemes in various nations. It discusses the role of government and how each country aligns its financing arrangements with stated policy goals of reducing reliance on institutional care for people with mental illnesses. Finally, it offers some concluding observations on mental health policy.

Keywords: mental health; economic phenomena; health care; policy goals; resources; mental disorders

Article.  11708 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare ; Public Economics

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