This study investigates suicide rates among OECD countries, with particular effort made to gain insight into how suicide in Japan is different from suicides in other OECD countries. Several findings emerged from fixed-effect panel regressions with country-specific time-trends. First, the impacts of socioeconomic variables vary across different gender-age groups. Second, in general, better economic conditions such as high levels of income and higher economic growth were found to reduce the suicide rate, while income inequality increases the suicide rate. Third, the suicide rate is more sensitive to economic factors captured by real GDP per capita, growth rate of real GDP per capita, and the Gini index than to social factors represented by divorce rate, birth rate, female labor force participation rate, and alcohol consumption. Fourth, female and elderly suicides are more difficult to be accounted for. Finally, in accordance with general beliefs, Japan's suicide problem is very different from those of other OECD countries. The impact of the socioeconomic variables on suicide is greater in Japan than in other OECD countries.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research is supported financially by the Research Center for the Relationship between Market Economy and Non-market Institutions (CEMANO), the 21st Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program of the Graduate School of Economics at the University of Tokyo. Three authors contributed equally to this paper. We would like to thank the editor and the anonymous referee for constructive comments, and Yoichi Goto and Kohta Mori for their excellent research assistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics
- Political Science and International Relations