Social Indicators Research

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 771–787 | Cite as

The Discouraged Worker and Suicide in the United States



This paper empirically analyses whether worker discouragement is linked to suicide in the United States. This paper argues that discouraged workers might translate their frustration into alcohol or drug consumption rather than committing suicide directly. Based on the linear Granger causality test, this study finds that changes in the number female unemployed workers help to predict changes in female suicide patterns. A 1 % increase in growth in the male unemployment rate with age (45–54) will lead to a 2.8 % increase in the growth of male alcohol-induced deaths. This study finds a nonlinear causality from the female unemployment with age (25–34, 45–54, 50 and over) to drug-induced deaths. These findings suggest the importance of providing treatment for the jobless to reduce the risk for excessive alcohol consumption, drug misuse and suicidal behavior.


Discouraged worker Suicide Drug misuse Alcohol-induced deaths 

JEL Classification

E32 I12 



Thanks go to the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Filomena Maggino, and anonymous referee for extremely and useful comments which have improved the content and presentation of this paper. However, the usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNational Taipei UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan

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