Evaluation of the impact of economic uncertainty on suicide

Evaluation of the impact of economic uncertainty on suicide

Evaluation of the impact of economic uncertainty on suicide Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Compartment in Google Plus By Oscar Claveria, AQR-IREA, University of Barcelona, ​​[email protected] In recent decades, a direct association between economic uncertainty and the suicide rate has been observed in certain regions. Despite a progressive decrease in recent years, suicide continues to be one of the main causes of mortality. Specifically, suicide is the fourth cause of death among young people between 15 and 29 years old. While more than 700,000 people die by suicide each year, for every suicide there are more than 20 attempts. Therefore, it is essential to advance research aimed at its prevention. Mental illness and alcohol and drug dependence have been shown to be key risk factors. Socioeconomic factors have also been shown to have an impact on suicide risk.

The role of uncertainty in economic growth

The high frequency with which it can be calculated make it a key variable to analyze the effect of socioeconomic factors on suicide. One of the reasons why this link has not been analyzed in more depth may be related to the unobservable nature of economic uncertainty. Since the Great Recession of 2008, there has been renewed interest in addressing economic uncertainty. Different strategies have been proposed to measure it. One of the most commonly used is through the global economic policy uncertainty index (GEPU) based on mining press texts from a set of 21 countries that represent 80% of world product. Starting from this indicator of uncertainty, the present work (accessible from a link at the end of this entry) evaluates the impact of economic uncertainty on the suicide rate.

With this objective, all available information

Collected regarding suicide rates for the constructing a panel for 183 countries and incorporating information related to unemployment and economic growth. To these last two control variables, dichotomous variables are added for each country and each period in order to consider both time and country fixed effects. The contribution of the study is threefold. On the one hand, most existing research focuses solely on developed countries. On the other hand, unlike previous cross-sectional studies, in this work the temporal dimension is taken into consideration. Additionally, the analysis is carried out both for the different regions defined by the World Bank, and for different groups of countries based on their income level. Finally, the uncertainty indicator is introduced into the model contemporaneously and delayed by a period, with the aim of analyzing whether uncertainty shocks have an immediate impact on the risk of suicide, or on the contrary, their effect is transmitted with a certain amount of time.

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