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Relative Status and Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Suicide Deaths

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Author Info

  • Mary C. Daly

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Daniel J. Wilson

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Norman J. Johnson

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

Abstract

We assess the importance of interpersonal income comparisons using data on suicide deaths. We examine whether suicide risk is related to others' income, holding own income and other individual and environmental factors fixed. We estimate models of the suicide hazard using two independent data sets: the National Longitudinal Mortality Study and the National Center for Health Statistics' Multiple Cause of Death Files combined with the 5% Public Use Micro Sample of the 1990 decennial census. Results from both data sources show that, controlling for own income and individual characteristics, individual suicide risk rises with others' income. (No rights reserved. This work was authored as part of the Contributor's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. law.)

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00355
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2013)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1480-1500

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:5:p:1480-1500

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00346535

Related research

Keywords: relative income; interpersonal comparisons; interdependent preferences; suicide; happiness;

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References

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  1. Douglas Miller & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Relative Income, Race, and Mortality," Working Papers 269, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  2. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tara Watson & Sara McLanahan, 2010. "Marriage Meets the Joneses: Relative Income, Identity, and Marital Status," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Patrick Pintus & Yi Wen, 2013. "Leveraged Borrowing and Boom-Bust Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 617-633, October.
  3. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2008. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," NBER Working Papers 14337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Shin S. Ikeda, 2013. "A Contingent Claim Analysis of Suicide," GRIPS Discussion Papers 13-05, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  5. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "Subjective Well-Being as Welfare Measure: Concepts and Methodology," MPRA Paper 16619, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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