Research

Publications in peer-reviewed journals

The Effects of Fluoride In The Drinking Water
With Linuz Aggeborn
Forthcoming, Journal of Political Economy

Water fluoridation is a common, but debated, public policy. In this paper, we use Swedish registry data to study the causal effects of fluoride in the drinking water. We exploit exogenous variation in natural fluoride, stemming from variation in geological characteristics at water sources, to identify its effects. First, we reconfirm the long-established positive effect of fluoride on dental health. Second, we estimate a zero-effect on cognitive ability — in contrast to several recent epidemiological studies. Third, fluoride is found to increase labor income. This effect is foremost driven by individuals from a lower socioeconomic background.

Working papers

Be smart, live long: the relationship between cognitive and non-cognitive abilities and mortality

This study documents the relationships between cognitive and non-cognitive abilities and mortality, using a population-wide dataset of almost 700,000 Swedish men born between 1951 and 1969. The abilities were measured at the military enlistment between age 18-20. Income and education are investigated as potential mediators. The results suggest that both cognitive and non-cognitive ability are strongly correlated with early mortality. The correlations are stronger for non-cognitive ability. These correlations are only partly mediated through income and education. The correlations are driven by individuals with low income or lacking high education.

Health Information and Well-Being: Evidence from an Asymptomatic Disease
With Matz Dahlberg, Kevin Mani and Anders Wanhainen

We examine how health information affects individuals’ well-being using a regression discontinuity design on data from a screening program for an asymptomatic disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The information provided to the individuals is guided by the measured aorta size and its relation to pre-determined levels. When comparing individuals that receive information that they are healthy with those that receive information that they are in the risk zone for AAA, we find no effects. However, when comparing those that receive information that they have a small AAA, and will be under increased surveillance, with those who receive information that they are in the risk zone, we find a weak positive effect on well-being. This indicates that the positive information about increased surveillance may outweigh the negative information about worse health.

Work in progress

Myocardial Infarction, Antidepressants and Mortality

I estimate the effect of SSRI antidepressants on the risk of mortality for myocardial infarction (MI) patients using Propensity Score Matching on individual health variables such as pharmaceutical drug prescription, patient history and severity of the MI. The effect of antidepressants on mortality is a heavily debated topic. MI patients have an elevated risk of developing depression, and antidepressants are among the most common treatments for depression and anxiety. However, there are indications that some classes of antidepressants may have drug-induced cardiovascular effects and could be harmful for individuals with heart problems, but there is a lack of large-scale studies using credible identification strategies. My findings indicate no increased risk of two-year mortality for MI patients using SSRI. The results are stable for several specifications and robustness checks.

Education and Cognitive Ability
With Linuz Aggeborn and Björn Öckert

Life After Death
With Matz Dahlberg

Economic Consequences of Childhood Cancer for Fathers and Mothers
With Louise von Essen

The Heavy Metal Project
With Per Johansson, Linuz Aggeborn and Oscar Erixon