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A Suicidal Kuznets Curve?

Antonakakis, Nikolaos and Collins, Alan (2016): A Suicidal Kuznets Curve?

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Abstract

In 1955 Simon Kuznets hypothesized an inverted U-shaped relationship between economic growth and income inequality. Environmental and obesity variants substitute pollution and body mass metrics for income inequality. Graphical depictions of both feature widely in economic literature. In this study, we investigate the existence (or lack thereof) of a suicidal Kuznets curve. Controlling for several country-specific socioeconomic suicide determinants among 73 countries over the period 1990-2010, we find evidence of an N-shaped suicidal Kuznets curve between per capita income and suicide rates of the male population of 25-34, 34-54 and 55-74 age groups and the female population of the 55-74 age group. The turning points of per capita income for the male population of 25-34, 34-54 and 55-74 age groups are $7,727 and $46,306, $5,266 and $22,726, and $3,459 and $53,260, respectively, while for the female population of the 55-74 age groups are $4,022 and $43,351. On average and across both genders, as per capita income increases, suicide rates for those aged 25-34 and 35-54 follow an increasing trend and peak when per capita income reaches $7,304 and $6,498, respectively, then follow a declining trend until $60,819 and $25,129, respectively, and increase thereafter again. These results remain robust to a battery of robustness checks.

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