Katherine Clemens

2020 Hellman Fellow


Assistant Professor, Economics
UC San Diego

Project title: Early Life Determinants of Suicides and Overdoses among Middle Aged Californians

Project description:¬†Recent work has documented an increase in suicides and substance abuse-related deaths (“deaths of despair”) among middle- aged individuals in the U.S., particularly those of low socioeconomic status (Case and Deaton, 2015, 2017). Another strand of research shows that the early childhood environment has important, causal effects on later life outcomes, including mental health, physical health, and mortality rates (Almond et al, 2018). Therefore, policy targeting early-life environmental factors could potentially reduce the upward trend in deaths of despair as well as disparities in health across low and high income groups. However, the link between the early childhood environment and deaths of despair is not well-understood.