Suicidal behavior and the labor market productivity of young adults


Tekin, Erdal & Markowitz, Sara (2005). Suicidal behavior and the labor market productivity of young adults. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series. vol. No. 11238


This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the link between suicidal behaviors and human capital formation of young adults in the United States. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we estimate the effects of suicide thoughts and attempts on the probability of engaging in work or school. The richness of the data set allows us to implement several strategies to control for unobserved heterogeneity and the potential reverse causality. These include using a large set of control variables that are likely to be correlated with both suicidal behavior and the outcome measures, an instrumental variables method, and a fixed effects analysis from the subsample of twin pairs contained in the data. The longitudinal nature of the data set also allows us to control for past suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts of the individuals from their high school years as well as the suicidal behavior of their family members. Results from the different identification strategies consistently indicate that both suicide thoughts and suicide attempts decrease the likelihood a young adult individual engages in work or schooling.



Author contact info: Erdal Tekin School of Public Affairs American University 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016-8070 Tel: (202) 885-6361 E-Mail: Sara Markowitz Department of Economics Emory University Rich Memorial Building 1602 Fishburne Dr. Atlanta, GA 30322 Tel: (404) 712-8167 E-Mail:

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series


Tekin, Erdal
Markowitz, Sara

Year Published


Volume Number

No. 11238



Reference ID