This paper addresses the influence of economic activity on suicide mortality in Europe. To this end, it employs a new panel data set of 275 regions in 29 countries over the period 1999-2010. The results suggest that unemployment does have a significantly positive influence on suicides. In line with economic theory, this influence varies among gender and age groups. Men of working age are particularly sensitive, while old-age suicide mortality (older than 65 years old) hardly responds to unemployment. Moreover, real economic growth negatively affects the suicide rates of working-age men. The results withstand several robustness checks, such as sample variations, and after controlling for serial and spatial autocorrelation.
Keywords: panel data; suicide; unemployment.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.