Economists have given little attention to the social construction of illness and how it undergirds cost-of-illness estimates. Social construction captures the prevailing conceptions of normative behavior. This article focuses on three of the most influential conceptions: the stigmatization of mental illness and those who have a mental illness; the punitive attitudes that society holds towards those whose behavior is deemed deviant; and the linkage of mental illness with productivity. The cost of mental illness is a product of the social norms embedded in the socialization of the illness and the science underpinning the estimate.
The social construction of the cost of mental illness
Wolff, N. (2007). The social construction of the cost of mental illness. Evidence & Policy, 3(1), 67-78. doi: 1332/174426407779702175