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Using a LASSO approach to analyse the determinants of measured and ‘natural’ suicide rates

Alan Collins (), Jingwen Fan and Aruneema Mahabir

NBS Discussion Papers in Economics from Economics, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University

Abstract: A new empirical approach to testing the hypothesis of a (positive) ‘natural’ rate of suicides is considered. The clustered variant of the Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operation (LASSO) framework is employed to select the determinants of suicide in the USA and a Least Squares Dummy Variable (LSDV) approach is then employed to estimate the ‘natural rate of suicide’ at the state level. Our model suggests that over the 2005-2017 period, natural rates for US states ranged from 5.5 (DC) per 100,000 population per year to 18.8 (Montana). Our results support the natural rate hypothesis with a more robust specification. We also consider the use of the natural rate measures as a means of evaluating progress in increasingly influential zero suicide initiatives.

Keywords: Zero suicide; LASSO; Natural rate of suicides; USA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-11
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