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Relative Status and Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Suicide Deaths

  • 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)

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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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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