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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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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
  2. Tara Watson & Sara McLanahan, 2011. "Marriage Meets the Joneses: Relative Income, Identity, and Marital Status," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 482-517.
  3. Patrick A. Pintus & Yi Wen, 2010. "Leveraged borrowing and boom-bust cycles," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 2010-027, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Campaniello, Nadia & Diasakos, Theodoros & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2014. "Rationalizable Suicides: Evidence from Changes in Inmates' Expected Length of Sentence," IZA Discussion Papers 8333, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "Subjective Well-Being as Welfare Measure: Concepts and Methodology," MPRA Paper 16619, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Shin S. Ikeda, 2013. "A Contingent Claim Analysis of Suicide," GRIPS Discussion Papers, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies 13-05, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

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