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DPP Evidence-Based Policymaking Seminar (EBPM): Werther at Work: Intra-Firm Spillovers of Suicides

Martin Halla
Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death and a major public health problem. We test the suicide contagion hypothesis in the context of the workplace. Thus, we investigate whether individuals who witnessed the suicide of a colleague have a different propensity to commit suicide. To this end, we leverage high quality administrative data from Austria. Based on an event study approach, we compare about 150,000 workers who were exposed to a co-worker's suicide to a comparison group, who were co-workers of a placebo-suicide worker with similar characteristics who did not commit suicide. We find a statistically significant contagion effect of workplace suicide among men but not among women.

About the speaker:

Martin Halla is Professor of Economics with the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, a Permanent Scientific Consultant at the Austrian Public Health Institute (GÖG) in Vienna, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn. His research focus is on applied economics in the fields of Health, Labor, and Demographic Economics.