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Relative status and well-being: evidence from U.S. suicide deaths

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  • Mary C. Daly
  • Daniel J. Wilson
  • Norman J. Johnson

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: (1) the National Longitudinal Mortality Study and (2) the National Center for Health Statistics’ Multiple Cause of Death Files combined with the 5 percent 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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2012-16.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2012-16

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Keywords: Income distribution ; Suicide ; Happiness;

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  1. Christopher Peterson & Nansook Park & Martin Seligman, 2005. "Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: the full life versus the empty life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 25-41, 03.
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Cited by:
  1. Shin S. Ikeda, 2013. "A Contingent Claim Analysis of Suicide," GRIPS Discussion Papers 13-05, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
  3. Tara Watson & Sara McLanahan, 2009. "Marriage Meets the Joneses: Relative Income, Identity, and Marital Status," NBER Working Papers 14773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Patrick A. Pintus & Yi Wen, 2010. "Leveraged borrowing and boom-bust cycles," Working Papers 2010-027, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  5. 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).
  6. 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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