Year: 2008 Source: The Journal of Socio-Economics, v.37, no.1, (February 2008), p.237-261 SIEC No: 20080417

This paper investigates the effect of public spending on health & welfare on total, male, & female suicide rates using panel data for American states from 1982-1997. The share of health & welfare in total public spending is a strong predictor of suicide rates, yielding estimated coefficients that are both statistically significant & economically meaningful. In parsimonious specifications, it was found suicide rates are systematically higher in states with higher divorce rates but average income level, income inequality, & unemployment rates do not have have a robust impact on suicide. The model provides a better fit to male than to female suicide data. (55 refs.)