EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Family Companionship and Elderly Suicide: Evidence from the Chinese Lunar New Year

Hanming Fang (), Ziteng Lei, Liguo Lin and Peng Zhang

No 28566, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Mental health problems among the elderly have attracted increasing attention. The most serious mental health problems may result in suicide, and lack of family companionship is often speculated to be a major cause. In this paper, we use high-frequency suicide rate data and utilize a novel temporal variation in the lunisolar calendar to provide evidence on the protective effects of the Chinese Lunar New Year (when the elderly people receive unusually high level of family companionship) on elderly suicide. We find that elderly suicide rate decreases by 8.7% during the Chinese Lunar New Year. In addition, the protective effects are stronger in counties where the typical level of daily family companionship for the elderly is lower. By contrast, we do not find similar protective effects for young and middle-age cohorts. We consider a variety of alternative mechanisms, and conclude that family companionship is an important channel for the protective effects of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Our study calls for greater attention to the mental health status and suicide problem of the elderly, especially with the rapid population aging and increasing prevalence of the “empty-nest” elderly in developing countries.

JEL-codes: I12 J14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-hea
Note: AG DEV PE
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.nber.org/papers/w28566.pdf (application/pdf)
Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28566

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.nber.org/papers/w28566
The price is Paper copy available by mail.

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2022-05-30
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28566