The economic crisis and death by suicide in Spain: Empirical evidence based on a data panel and the quantification of losses in labour productivity
In 2013, the suicide rate in Spain went up by more than 9% with respect to the previous year. Suicide thus became the first cause of death between the ages of 15 and 44. This increase could be related to the serious economic recession that Spain has been experiencing in recent years. In this study, the panel data technique used demographic-type variables and those related to the economic cycle. We also used the suicide rates for the Spanish regions in the period between 2002 and 2013. Moreover, there is a lack of evidence to help assess to what extent these suicides have a social cost in terms of losses in human capital. Consequently, an estimate is made of the losses in labour productivity owing to these suicides. The results provide a strong indication that a decrease in economic growth and an increase in unemployment negatively affect suicide rates. Due to suicide, 37,250 potential years of working life were lost in 2012. This has an estimated cost of over 534 million Euros. The economic crisis endured by Spain in recent years has played a role in the higher suicide rates one can observe from the data in official statistics. From a social perspective, suicide is a public health problem with far-reaching consequences.
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