Socio-economic studies on suicide: A survey

Joe Chen, Yun Jeong Choi, Kohta Mori, Yasuyuki Sawada, Saki Sugano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we review economic theories and empirical studies on the socio-economic aspects of suicide. Through our survey, we would like to emphasize the importance of studying suicide by employing a 'rational' approach that complements the medical perspective on suicide. We first introduce major economic theories of suicide and then present a summary of a variety of empirical studies from the socio-economic perspective. To shed light on the mixed empirical evidence, we employ a meta-regression method to investigate how the existing empirical results vary. We have identified a publication bias, not highlighted previously, in the existing literature with respect to several commonly employed socio-economic factors. Several characteristics of existing studies have been identified as influencing the qualitative outcome. We then discuss the recent developments in economic studies on suicide, on the basis of the authors' ongoing project on suicide. In the concluding section, we point out some issues for further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-306
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Economic Surveys
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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