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Suicidal Behavior and the Labor Market Productivity of Young Adults

  • Erdal Tekin
  • Sara Markowitz

This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the link between suicidal behaviors and human capital formation of young adults in the United States. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we estimate the effects of suicide thoughts and attempts on the probability of engaging in work or school. The richness of the data set allows us to implement several strategies to control for unobserved heterogeneity and the potential reverse causality. These include using a large set of control variables that are likely to be correlated with both suicidal behavior and the outcome measures, an instrumental variables method, and a fixed effects analysis from the subsample of twin pairs contained in the data. The longitudinal nature of the data set also allows us to control for past suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts of the individuals from their high school years as well as the suicidal behavior of their family members. Results from the different identification strategies consistently indicate that both suicide thoughts and suicide attempts decrease the likelihood a young adult individual engages in work or schooling.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11238.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11238.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Publication status: published as Tekin, Erdal and Sara Markowitz. “The Effects of Suicidal Behavior on Productive Activities of Young Adults.” Southern Economic Journal 75,2 (October 2008): 300-331.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11238
Note: CH HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
  2. Bartel, Ann & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Some Economic and Demographic Consequences of Mental Illness," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 243-56, April.
  3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 219-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Vivian H. Hamilton & Philip Merrigan & Éric Dufresne, 1997. "Down and out: estimating the relationship between mental health and unemployment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 397-406.
  5. Dave E. Marcotte, 2003. "The Economics of Suicide, Revisited," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 628-643, January.
  6. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of Psychiatric Disorders on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of psychiatric disorders on labor market outcomes," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 64-81, October.
  8. Chatterji, Pinka & Dave, Daval & Kaestner, Robert & Markowitz, Sara, 2004. "Alcohol abuse and suicide attempts among youth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 159-180, June.
  9. Bartel, Ann & Taubman, Paul, 1979. "Health and Labor Market Success: The Role of Various Diseases," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-8, February.
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