This paper provides further evidence on the hypothesis of the natural rate of suicide using the time series data for 15 OECD countries over the period 1970–2004. This hypothesis suggests that the suicide rate of a society could never be zero even if both the economic and the social conditions were made ideal from the point of view of suicide (Yang and Lester, 1991). This research relates the suicide rates to harmonized unemployment and divorce rates to test the natural hypothesis statistically. We also address methodological flaws by earlier suicide studies by employing autoregressive-distributed lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration advocated by Pesaran et al. (2001). In majority of regression equations, the constant term was positive and statistically significant, indicating a non-zero natural suicide rate. In particular, we find evidence that at aggregate level, Turkey has the lowest (3.64) and Japan has the highest (13.98) natural rate of suicides. In terms of the male natural suicide rates, the United Kingdom ranks the lowest (4.73) and Belgium ranks the top (15.44). As for the female natural suicide rates, Japan takes the lead (16.76) and Italy has the lowest (5.60). The results are also compared and contrasted to each other with a view to drawing plausible policy conclusions.
Economic Modelling, 2011, Vol 28, Issue 1-2, p. 22-26