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Do generous unemployment benefit programs reduce suicide rates?: a state fixed-effect analysis covering 1968-2008

Cylus, Jonathan, Glymour, M. M. and Avendano, M. (2014) Do generous unemployment benefit programs reduce suicide rates?: a state fixed-effect analysis covering 1968-2008. American Journal of Epidemiology, 180 (12). pp. 45-52. ISSN 0002-9262

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Identification Number: 10.1093/aje/kwu106


The recent economic recession has led to increases in suicide, but whether US state unemployment insurance programs ameliorate this association has not been examined. Exploiting US state variations in the generosity of benefit programs between 1968 and 2008, we tested the hypothesis that more generous unemployment benefit programs reduce the impact of economic downturns on suicide. Using state linear fixed-effect models, we found a negative additive interaction between unemployment rates and benefits among the US working-age (20–64 years) population (β = −0.57, 95% confidence interval: −0.86, −0.27; P < 0.001). The finding of a negative additive interaction was robust across multiple model specifications. Our results suggest that the impact of unemployment rates on suicide is offset by the presence of generous state unemployment benefit programs, though estimated effects are small in magnitude.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author
Divisions: Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Research centres and groups > ALPHA (Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis)
Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > LSE Health
Collections > United States Collection
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2014 15:41
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2021 00:48
Projects: 263684, R01AG040248, R01AG037398, R01AG040248
Funders: European Research Council, US National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Aging, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, McArthur Foundation Research Network on Ageing

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