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Suicide in Ireland: The Influence of Alcohol and Unemployment

Author

Listed:
  • Brendan Walsh

    (University College Dublin)

  • Dermot Walsh

    (Mental Health Commission)

Abstract

We model the behaviour of the Irish suicide rate over the period 1968-2009 using the unemployment rate and the level of alcohol consumption as the principal explanatory variables. We find that alcohol consumption is a significant influence on the suicide rate among younger males. Its influence on the female suicide rate is not well-established, although there is some evidence that it plays a role in the 15-24 age group. The unemployment rate is also a significant influence on the male suicide rate in the younger age groups but evidence of its influence on the female suicide rate is lacking. The behaviour of suicide rates among males aged 55 and over and females aged 25 and over is unaccounted for by our model. The findings suggest that higher alcohol consumption played a significant role in the very rapid increase in suicide mortality among young Irish males between the late 1980s and the end of the century. In the early twenty first century a combination of falling alcohol consumption and low unemployment led to a marked reduction in suicide rates. The recent rise in suicide rates may be attributed to the sharp rise in unemployment, especially among males, but it has been moderated by the continuing fall in alcohol consumption. Finally, we discuss some policy implications of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Brendan Walsh & Dermot Walsh, 2011. "Suicide in Ireland: The Influence of Alcohol and Unemployment," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 42(1), pages 27-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:42:y:2011:i:1:p:27-47
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    File URL: http://www.esr.ie/vol42_1/02%20Walsh%20article.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Finbarr Brereton & J. Peter Clinch & Susana Ferreira, 2008. "Employment and Life-Satisfaction: Insights from Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 39(3), pages 207-234.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Suicide and the Recession - again
      by Brendan Walsh in The Irish Economy on 2013-09-19 04:22:39

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    Cited by:

    1. David Madden, 2015. "Health and Wealth on the Roller-Coaster: Ireland, 2003–2011," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 387-412, April.
    2. Andrew Phiri & Doreen Mukuka, 2017. "Does unemployment aggravate suicide rates in South Africa? Some empirical evidence," Working Papers 1705, Department of Economics, Nelson Mandela University, revised Jul 2017.
    3. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0370-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hudson, Eibhlin, 2013. "Does relative material wealth matter for child and adolescent life satisfaction?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 38-47.

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