The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 129–137 | Cite as

Economic hardship and suicide mortality in Finland, 1875–2010

  • Marko Korhonen
  • Mikko PuhakkaEmail author
  • Matti Viren
Original Paper


We investigate the determinants of suicide in Finland using annual data for consumption and suicides from 1860 to 2010. Instead of using some ad hoc measures of cyclical movements of the economy, we build our analysis on a more solid economic theory. A key feature is the habit persistence in preferences, which provides a way to measure individual well-being and predict suicide. We estimate time series of habit levels and develop an indicator (the hardship index) to describe the economic hardship of consumers. The higher the level of the index, the worse off consumers are. As a rational response to such a bad situation, some consumers might commit suicide. We employ the autoregressive distributed lags cointegration method and find that our index works well in explaining the long-term behavior of people committing suicide in Finland.


Suicide Habit persistence Hall’s consumption function Cointegration 

JEL Classification

I12 D91 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Department of Economics and the Public Choice Research CentreUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Bank of FinlandHelsinkiFinland

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