Call for Papers: BREAD Conference at MIT, 12-13 May 2023

Mental Health and Socioeconomic Outcomes

The Journal of Development Economics invites scholars to contribute to a special issue on “Mental Health and Socioeconomic Outcomes”. This special issue aims to delve into the relationship between mental health and broader socioeconomic outcomes.

Guest editors:

Nishith Prakash, Northeastern University, email:

Gautam Rao, University of California Berkeley, email:

Frank Schilbach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, email:

Special issue information:

Background and Scope:

The special issue seeks to publish original research papers that deepen our understanding of the multifaceted connections between mental health and various aspects of socioeconomic well-being and economic behaviors. Contributors are encouraged to explore how mental health intersects with economic factors, educational attainment, labor market participation, productivity, discrimination, social integration, political behaviors, and more.

Papers addressing local policy challenges and potential reforms related to mental health are highly encouraged. We are particularly interested in manuscripts that not only provide compelling evidence but also have the potential to catalyze new research ideas and directions. With this objective in mind, we highly value papers that offer a diverse range of viewpoints and research methods, and we especially encourage submissions that introduce significant new data to address these topics.

Submission Topics:

We invite submissions on a wide array of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Methodological innovations in measuring mental health
  • Understanding cross-country or cross-cultural variation in mental health
  • Measuring or intervening to improve mental health among young people
  • Studying the role of social media and related technologies in affecting the mental health of young people in developing countries.
  • Approaches to increasing access and equity in mental health services
  • Novel approaches to mental health interventions, including digital technology
  • Organizational and personnel challenges in the provision of mental health care
  • Novel insights into mental health workforce recruitment, retention, and support
  • The impact of non-traditional mental health interventions on underserved populations
  • Scalability and cost-effectiveness of mental health programs at the individual or community level
  • The link between mental health and long-term socioeconomic prospects
  • Diverse impacts of mental health interventions across demographic and socio-economic groups

In addition to empirical papers that establish causal relationships (including those that provide comprehensive but inconclusive findings), we also welcome descriptive studies, literature reviews, theoretical contributions, and replications that significantly enhance our collective comprehension of these themes.

Contextual Relevance:

Our special issue aims to deepen our knowledge of the challenges and opportunities associated with mental health in low-income settings and how they influence human capital development. Papers addressing local policy dilemmas related to mental health are highly encouraged. We are particularly interested in submissions that embrace diverse methodologies and perspectives, and we extend a warm welcome to papers that introduce novel datasets that contribute substantially to this discourse.

Manuscript submission information:

Submission Details:

  • Submission Deadline: Initial submissions must be received by January 30th, 2025.
  • Submission Process: Authors are required to follow the regular submission process for the Journal of Development Economics, available at Editorial Manager®, and select the “VSI: Mental health and socioeconomic outcomes” article type.
  • Peer Review: Submitted manuscripts will undergo the standard peer-review process of the journal.
  • We invite scholars from diverse backgrounds and research methodologies to contribute to this special issue. We believe that by fostering a rich array of perspectives and methodologies, we can better understand the significance of mental health in shaping development outcomes.

For Inquiries and Submissions:

For questions or to explore the suitability of a research topic or paper for this special issue, please contact the special issue editors:

Nishith Prakash, Northeastern University, email:

Gautam Rao, University of California Berkeley, email:

Frank Schilbach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, email:



BREAD & MIT Conference on Development Economics

12-13 May 2023, MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) is pleased to announce the forty-sixth Conference on Development Economics. The conference is hosted by MIT Sloan, the MIT Department of Economics, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and will take place on Friday, May 12th and Saturday, May 13th with the following sessions:
• Friday, 12 May (morning): 20-minute presentations of research at an early stage, reserved for non-tenured researchers
• Friday, 12 May (afternoon) + Saturday, 13 May (morning): full-length 50-60 minute presentations on research at an advanced stage

We invite submissions from interested researchers on any topic within the area of development economics. Everyone is invited to attend all sessions of the conference and non-tenured researchers are encouraged to submit to either session. All papers presented at the conference will be selected through this open submissions process.

Please submit your paper before the deadline on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 11:59pm ET.

Please upload the final paper to Conference Maker at this link:

Program Committee Members are:
• Abhijit Banerjee, Chair (MIT, J-PAL)
• David Atkin (MIT, J-PAL)
• Dave Donaldson (MIT)
• Namrata Kala (MIT Sloan)
• Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics, J-PAL)
• Benjamin A. Olken (MIT, J-PAL)
• Frank Schilibach (MIT)
• Tavneet Suri (MIT Sloan, J-PAL)
• Guo Xu (UC Berkeley)

The final program will be announced no later than Friday, March 31, 2023.

If you have any questions, please email Mary Pietrusko,