The impact of fiscal austerity on suicide: on the empirics of a modern Greek tragedy

Nikolaos Antonakakis, Alan Collins

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Abstract

Suicide rates in Greece (and other European countries) have been on a remarkable upward trend following the global recession of 2008 and the European sovereign debt crisis of 2009. However, recent investigations of the impact on Greek suicide rates from the 2008 financial crisis have restricted themselves to simple descriptive or correlation analyses. Controlling for various socioeeconomic effects, this study presents a statistically robust model to explain the influence on realised suicidality of the application of fiscal austerity measures and variations in macroeconomic performance over the period 1968-2011. The responsiveness of suicide to levels of fiscal austerity is established as a means of providing policy guidance on the extent of suicide behaviour associated with different fiscal austerity measures. The results suggest (i) significant age and gender specificity in these effects on suicide rates and that (ii) remittances have suicide-reducing effects on the youth and female population. These empirical regularities potentially offer some guidance on the demographic targeting of suicide prevention measures and the case for ‘economic’ migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume112
Early online date19 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Greece
  • Fiscal austerity
  • Suicide
  • Unemployment
  • Debt crisis
  • Migration

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