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How is suicide different in Japan?


  • Chen, Joe
  • Choi, Yun Jeong
  • Sawada, Yasuyuki


This study investigates suicide rates among OECD countries, with particular effort made to gain insight into how suicide in Japan is different from suicides in other OECD countries. Several findings emerged from fixed-effect panel regressions with country-specific time-trends. First, the impacts of socioeconomic variables vary across different gender-age groups. Second, in general, better economic conditions such as high levels of income and higher economic growth were found to reduce the suicide rate, while income inequality increases the suicide rate. Third, the suicide rate is more sensitive to economic factors captured by real GDP per capita, growth rate of real GDP per capita, and the Gini index than to social factors represented by divorce rate, birth rate, female labor force participation rate, and alcohol consumption. Fourth, female and elderly suicides are more difficult to be accounted for. Finally, in accordance with general beliefs, Japan's suicide problem is very different from those of other OECD countries. The impact of the socioeconomic variables on suicide is greater in Japan than in other OECD countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Joe & Choi, Yun Jeong & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2009. "How is suicide different in Japan?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 140-150, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:japwor:v:21:y:2009:i:2:p:140-150

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yamamura, Eiji, 2015. "Long-term effect on suicidal thoughts of graduating during a recession," MPRA Paper 63848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Yamamura, Eiji & Andrés, Antonio R., 2011. "Does corruption affect suicide? Empirical evidence from OECD countries," MPRA Paper 31622, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Joe Chen & Yun Choi & Kohta Mori & Yasuyuki Sawada & Saki Sugano, 2009. "Those Who are Left Behind: An Estimate of the Number of Family Members of Suicide Victims in Japan," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 535-544, December.
    4. Eiji Yamamura, 2015. "Comparison of Social Capital's Effect on Consideration of Suicide between Urban and Rural Areas," ISER Discussion Paper 0933, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    5. repec:spr:infosf:v:14:y:2012:i:1:d:10.1007_s10796-011-9316-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Schaede Ulrike, 2013. "Sunshine and Suicides in Japan: revisiting the relevance of economic determinants of suicide," Contemporary Japan, De Gruyter, vol. 25(2), pages 105-126, August.
    7. Bussu, Anna & Detotto, Claudio & Sterzi, Valerio, 2013. "Social conformity and suicide," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 67-78.
    8. Chen, Joe & Choi, Yun Jeong & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2009. "How is suicide different in Japan?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 140-150, March.
    9. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "The role of social trust in reducing long-term truancy and forming human capital in Japan," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 380-389, April.
    10. Okada, Keisuke & Samreth, Sovannroeun, 2013. "A study on the socio-economic determinants of suicide: Evidence from 13 European OECD countries," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 78-85.
    11. Berta Rivera & Bruno Casal & Luis Currais, 2017. "Crisis, suicide and labour productivity losses in Spain," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(1), pages 83-96, January.
    12. Andrés, Antonio R. & Halicioglu, Ferda & Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Socio-economic determinants of suicide in Japan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 723-731.
    13. Eiji Yamamura & Antonio Andrés & Marina Katsaiti, 2012. "Does Corruption Affect suicide? Econometric Evidence from OECD Countries," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(2), pages 133-145, June.


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