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

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

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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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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