The Different Impacts of Socio-economic Factors on Suicide between Males and Females
The number of suicides in Japan has substantially increased during its low growth period. The main argument of Durkheim’s (1951) seminal work in the field of sociology is that suicide is under influences of not only individual traits but also of the society one belongs to. Recently it was found that the effect of socio-economic variables on suicide rates depends on gender. This paper attempts to examine the difference of socio-economic factors on suicide between males and females. I used the national panel data of Japan to investigate the determinants of suicide. Based on fixed-effects estimation, by which the year and prefecture-specific unobservable effects can be controlled for, the major findings are twofold. First, the social capital that enhances community integration had a greater effect upon the suicide of females than that of males. This is probably because females are less likely to have full-time jobs and thus have more spare time, leading them to seek social involvement in their neighborhoods and participate in community activities. Second, divorce causes the propensity to commit suicide among males to become about two times higher than that among females due to the compensation costs that males are more likely to pay to females.
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