Anti-Bullying Laws and Suicidal Behaviors Among Teenagers

64 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2020 Last revised: 1 Sep 2021

See all articles by Daniel I. Rees

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Gokhan Kumpas

University of New Hampshire

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

The CDC reports that the association between bullying and suicides among teenagers has generated “concern, even panic,” but polices aimed at combatting bullying have received little attention from researchers. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy, we find that state-level anti-bullying laws (ABLs) reduce bullying victimization, depression and suicidal ideation, with the largest estimated effects for female teenagers and teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning. In addition, ABLs are associated with a 13-16 percent reduction in the suicide rate of female 14- through 18-year-olds. Event-study analyses and falsification tests provide evidence that these estimates can be interpreted causally.

Suggested Citation

Rees, Daniel I. and Sabia, Joseph and Kumpas, Gokhan, Anti-Bullying Laws and Suicidal Behaviors Among Teenagers (February 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26777, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3543300

Daniel I. Rees (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Gokhan Kumpas

University of New Hampshire ( email )

15 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
United States

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