Are Socio-Economic Factors Valid Determinants of Suicide? Controlling for National Cultures of Suicide with Fixed-Effects Estimation

Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 3, No. 37, pp. 307-329, 2003

29 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2003 Last revised: 13 Jul 2010

See all articles by Eric Neumayer

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: July 13, 2010

Abstract

National cultures of suicide have found renewed interest in the recent literature on variation in suicide rates. Fixed-effects estimation controls more elegantly and comprehensively for such cultures than other approaches used in the existing literature. This article's analysis employs a range of economic and social explanatory variables based on economic as well as Durkheimian sociological theory in fixed-effects and random-effects estimation of age-standardized suicide rates in a large panel of up to 68 countries during the period 1980 to 1999. The results suggest that economic and social factors affect cross-country differences in suicide rates in accordance with theory. Importantly, the fixed-effects estimation results do not differ systematically from the random-effects results. This suggests that the vast majority of the existing literature, which typically fails to control for national cultures of suicide and suggests socioeconomic factors as important determinants of suicide, can still be expected to come to valid results.

Keywords: Suicide, national cultures, socioeconomic factors, Durkheim, fixed effects, random effects

Suggested Citation

Neumayer, Eric, Are Socio-Economic Factors Valid Determinants of Suicide? Controlling for National Cultures of Suicide with Fixed-Effects Estimation (July 13, 2010). Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 3, No. 37, pp. 307-329, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=482026

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

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