New(spaper) Evidence of a Reduction in  Suicide Mentions during the 19th‐century US  Gold Rush 

Kronenberg, Christoph LSF

I analyze the relationship between state‐level economic shocks and suicides using historical US gold discoveries (1840‐1860) as a large unexpected economic shock.  
Gold discoveries were an unexpected and large economic shock of up to 3.5% of GDP. They provide as good as random variation to the local economy, that I use to estimate the effect of economic changes on suicides. Comprehensive mortality data by state and year does not exist for the US for 1840 to 1860. I thus make use of web scraped data from a newspaper archive and use suicide mentions per 100,000 pages as a proxy for suicides.
Results show that overall gold discoveries are linked with a clear reduction in  newspaper suicide mentions. The results indicate that an economic shock  changes the suicide rate by one for every $136,659 to $251,145. This is estimate implies a higher cost‐effectiveness than previous research but is still seven to fourteen times the size of modern, cost‐effective suicide prevention method.


CINCH working paper series


Citation style:
Kronenberg, C., 2020. New(spaper) Evidence of a Reduction in  Suicide Mentions during the 19th‐century US  Gold Rush . CINCH working paper series.
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