Research Highlights

Income, Health, and Suicide: Evidence from Individual Panel Dataset in Korea

  • Author : Chulhee Lee and Jeongrim Hong
  • Journal : Seoul Journal of Economics / 30 (2017), 385-408


Limited evidence has been presented regarding the effects of individual income and health on suicide. We investigated how individual economic status and health conditions (chronic diseases and disabilities) affect the probability of suicidal death through an analysis of micro panel data constructed by the Korean National Health Insurance. The data looked into a sample of one million individuals from 2002 to 2013. Results show that low economic status significantly increases the probability of suicide. Poor health is strongly related to a high risk of suicide. The effects of income are strongly revealed for males. Mental disability exerts a stronger effect on female suicide, whereas other types of disability have more powerful effects on male suicide. Suicide in older people is more strongly influenced by health compared with that in middle-aged people, with the exception of mental disability. Moreover, the effect of the severity of the health condition differs according to health problems, and the effect of a new onset is not as strong as that of a continuing condition of the same type.