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Suicide and Religion: New Evidence on The Differences Between Protestantism and Catholicism

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  • Benno Torgler
  • Christoph A. Schaltegger

Abstract

In this study of the persistent social phenomenon of suicide, we find that even though theological and social differences between Catholicism and Protestantism have decreased, Catholics are still less likely than Protestants to commit or accept suicide. This difference remains even after we control for such confounding factors as social and religious network s. Although religious networks do mitigate suicides among Protestants, the influence of church attendance is more dominant among Catholics. The methodological strength of our paper is that it uses two data sets: a 20-year panel for Switzerland and a cross-sectional analysis of alternative religious concepts like religious commitment and religiosity in 414 European regions. We find that these alternative concepts strongly reduce acceptance of suicide .

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2012-12.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2012-12

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Keywords: Suicide; Religion; Protestantism; Catholicism;

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  1. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Torgler, Benno, 2010. "Work ethic, Protestantism, and human capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 99-101, May.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Karen Norberg, 2000. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," NBER Working Papers 7713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Knocking on Heaven’s Door? Protestantism and Suicide," CEPR Discussion Papers 8448, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
  5. Noh, Yong-Hwan, 2009. "Does unemployment increase suicide rates? The OECD panel evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 575-582, August.
  6. Steven Stack & Augustine J. Kposowa, 2008. "The Association of Suicide Rates with Individual-Level Suicide Attitudes: A Cross-National Analysis," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(1), pages 39-59.
  7. Joe Chen & Yun Jeong Choi & Kohta Mori & Yasuyuki Sawada & Saki Sugano, 2009. "Socio-Economic Studies on Suicide: A Survey," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-629, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
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