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Suicide and Religion: New Evidence on the Differences Between Protestantism and Catholicism

Author

Listed:
  • Benno Torgler

    () (QUT)

  • Christoph A Schaltegger

    () (QUT)

Abstract

In this study of the persistent social phenomenon of suicide, we find that even though theological and social differences between Catholicism and Protestantism have decreased, Catholics are still less likely than Protestants to commit or accept suicide. This difference remains even after we control for such confounding factors as social and religious networks. Although religious networks do mitigate suicides among Protestants, the influence of church attendance is more dominant among Catholics. The methodological strength of our paper is that it uses two data sets: a 20-year panel for Switzerland and a cross-sectional analysis of alternative religious concepts like religious commitment and religiosity in 414 European regions. We find that these alternative concepts strongly reduce acceptance of suicide.

Suggested Citation

  • Benno Torgler & Christoph A Schaltegger, 2012. "Suicide and Religion: New Evidence on the Differences Between Protestantism and Catholicism," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 288, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:288
    as

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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2012/WP288.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Torgler, Benno, 2010. "Work ethic, Protestantism, and human capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 99-101, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
    4. Steven Stack & Augustine J. Kposowa, 2008. "The Association of Suicide Rates with Individual-Level Suicide Attitudes: A Cross-National Analysis," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(1), pages 39-59.
    5. Noh, Yong-Hwan, 2009. "Does unemployment increase suicide rates? The OECD panel evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 575-582, August.
    6. Joe Chen & Yun Jeong Choi & Kohta Mori & Yasuyuki Sawada & Saki Sugano, 2012. "Socio‐Economic Studies On Suicide: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 271-306, April.
    7. Sascha Becker & Ludger Wößmann, 2011. "Knocking on Heaven's Door? Protestantism and Suicide," CESifo Working Paper Series 3499, CESifo Group Munich.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    SUICIDE; RELIGION; PROTESTANTISM; CATHOLICISM;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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