Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 30 , No. 4

[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 385-408
Abbreviation: SJE
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Nov 2017
Received 31 Oct 2017 Revised 10 Nov 2017 Accepted 15 Nov 2017

Income, Health, and Suicide: Evidence from Individual Panel Data in Korea
Chulhee Lee ; Jeongrim Hong
Chulhee Lee, Professor, Department of Economics, Seoul National University, Address, Tel: 82-2-880-6396, Fax: 82-2-886-4231 (chullee@snu.ac.kr)
Jeongrim Hong, Postdoctoral fellow, College of Social Sciences, Seoul National University (jrhong1017@gmail.com)

Funding Information ▼

JEL Classification: I10, I12, I14


Limited evidence regarding the effects of individual income and health on suicide was presented. We investigated how individual economic status and health conditions (chronic diseases and disabilities) affect the probability of suicidal death through an analysis of micro panel data constructed by the Korean National Health Insurance. The data looked into a sample of one million individuals from 2002 to 2013. Results show that low economic status significantly increases the probability of suicide. Poor health is strongly related to a high risk of suicide. The effects of income are strongly revealed for males. Mental disability exerts a stronger effect on female suicide, whereas other types of disability have more powerful effects on male suicide. Suicide in older people is more strongly influenced by health compared with that in middle-aged people, with the exception of mental disability. Moreover, the effect of the severity of the health condition differs according to health problems, and the effect of a new onset is not as strong as that of a continuing condition of the same type.

Keywords: Suicide, Income, Health, Disease, Disability


We benefited from the helpful comments of Wankyo Chung and the participants of the 2016 Korean Allied Economics Conference and the 2016 International Health Conference at King College London. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2016S1A3A2924944) and the Center for Distributive Justice in Institute of Economic Research, Seoul National University. Any remaining errors are our own.

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