Dark contrasts : the paradox of high rates of suicide in happy places
Daly, Mary C., Oswald, Andrew J., Wilson, Daniel and Wu, Stephen. (2011) Dark contrasts : the paradox of high rates of suicide in happy places. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Vol.80 (No.3). pp. 435-442. ISSN 0167-2681Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2011.04.007
Suicide kills more Americans each year than die in motor accidents. Yet its causes remain poorly understood. We suggest in this paper that the level of others’ happiness may be a risk factor for suicide (although one's own happiness likely protects one from suicide). Using U.S. and international data, the paper provides evidence for a paradox: the happiest places tend to have the highest suicide rates. The analysis appears to be the first published study to be able to combine rich individual-level data sets—one on life satisfaction in a newly available random sample of 1.3 million Americans and another on suicide decisions among an independent random sample of about 1 million Americans—to establish this dark-contrasts paradox in a consistent way across U.S. states. The study also replicates the finding for the Western industrialized nations. The paradox, which holds individual characteristics constant, is not an artifact of population composition or confounding factors (or of the ecological fallacy). We conclude with a discussion of the possible role of relative comparisons of utility.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization|
|Publisher:||Elsevier BV * North-Holland|
|Number of Pages:||8|
|Page Range:||pp. 435-442|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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