Journal article

Locus of control and the gender gap in mental health

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, Musharavati Ephraim Munyanyi, Kushneel Prakash, Russell Smyth

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization | Elsevier | Published : 2020


We examine whether gender differences in locus of control (LoC) explain gender gaps in mental health using longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. We find that gender differences in LoC is an important factor contributing to the well-recognised gender gap in mental health in favour of males. Our preferred estimates, that take into account differences in the distribution of characteristics of males and females, suggest that at the mean a unit increase in internal LoC for females would narrow the mental health gender gap by 2.2% and that if LoC of women were the same as that of men, it could close the gender gap in mental health by as much ..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This paper uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute). The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to either DSS or the Melbourne Institute. Prakash acknowledges support by the Monash University Postgraduate Publications Award. Munyanyi acknowledges support by the RMIT Research Stipend Scholarship.