The Changing Relationship Between Unemployment and Suicide

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Abstract

The relationship between unemployment and suicide has changed over time and in particular during the Great Recession. Using state-level panel data covering the years 1979–2010, the study indicates that unemployment's impact was insignificant during the first half of the sample period, but was highly significant during the second half. In addition, while the impact has generally become stronger over recent decades, it fell during the Great Recession although remained significant. Evidence suggesting that increased economic insecurity helps explain the growing sensitivity over time is offered. The models fit the data well, explaining up to 90% of the variation in state suicide rates.

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