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The harder they fall? Sex and race/ethnic specific suicide rates in the U.S. foreclosure crisis

Jason N. Houle and Michael T. Light

Social Science & Medicine, 2017, vol. 180, issue C, 114-124

Abstract: Previous work shows suicide rates increase during economic recessions, but little research has examined the extent to which the foreclosure crisis—a unique aspect of the Great Recession—has contributed to disparities in rising suicide rates by race and sex. We develop and test two competing hypotheses regarding the association between foreclosures and race by sex specific suicide rates. We link foreclosure data (RealtyTrac) and suicide data (CDC) from 174 metropolitan areas from 2005 to 2010 (1044 MSA-year observations) and find that—net of time invariant unobserved between-metro area differences, national time trends, and time-varying confounders—a rise in the foreclosure rate is associated with a marginal increase in suicide, but this main effect masks considerable heterogeneity across groups. The association is particularly strong for white males, and weaker or non-existent for other race by sex groups.

Keywords: Suicide; Foreclosure crisis; Social inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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