Publication details

Does educational expansion decrease suicide rates in European countries? The compositional effect in educational stratification of suicides

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Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Quality & Quantity
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords suicide rate; education; educational expansion; birth cohort; APC analysis
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Description The aim of the text is to analyse the relationship between educational expansion and suicide rates. To examine this relationship, we analyse data from 24 European countries from 1994 to 2014. First, we analyse data from an age-period-cohort (APC) perspective using the intrinsic estimator (IE) approach to identify all three effects separately. The results show that the changes in suicide rates are driven by the birth cohort effect rather than the period effect, with each successive cohort born after 1960 having a lower suicide rate than its predecessor. This finding implies a cohort replacement explanation in suicide trends. Second, we approach our data from a multilevel (hierarchical) perspective using a three-level negative binomial regression model (suicides, nested in years, nested in countries) and analyse the direct effect of educational expansion on suicides by age groups. The results show that the decline in suicide rates in European countries does not occur because of a change in suicidal behavior, but because of a change in the educational composition of populations. Educational expansion increases the proportion of young people with higher education who have a lower propensity to commit suicide; this mechanism decreases the suicide rates in European countries between 1994 and 2014.
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