Relevance to economics notwithstanding, this research offends me on several levels. Also, this title is very long.

05Sep06

EconLog, An Evolutionary Model of Depression, Bryan Caplan: Library of Economics and Liberty

Depressed people – what is their problem? Edward Hagen of Humboldt University has a fascinating answer: Getting depressed is a good way to get the people around you to give you more for less. Feel underappreciated? Then mope around non-stop, and the people who depend on you will pick up the slack. Hagen explains it with a tidy economic metaphor:

Given that the principal cause of major unipolar depression is a significant negative life event, and that its characteristic symptom is a loss of interest in virtually all activities, it is possible that this syndrome functions somewhat like a labor strike. emphasis mine

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