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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 38, Issue 6, December 2009, Pages 903–907
This study is the first attempt to empirically examine the determinants of suicides in the case of Turkey using the time-series data for the period 1974–2007. This research proposes that the suicides in Turkey are related to some economic and social factors and they exhibit a dynamic relationship amongst them. Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration testing procedure is employed to obtain the short-run and long-run elasticities of suicides with respect to per capita real income, divorce rates, urbanization and liquidation. The empirical results reveal that the urbanization has the highest impact on suicides, which is followed by per capita real income and liquidation. The results also provide some important policy recommendations to reduce suicides.
Taking someone's own life in many different ways (intentionally) and for many different reasons is called suicide and this type of behavior has attracted the attention of both policy makers and academics alike and has given rise to a number of governmental resolutions and academic papers. Until the late 20th century this subject was mostly studied by sociologists and psychologists. Economists stayed away from topics related to suicide despite its clear economic implications, see for a few exceptions Quinney (1965), Hamermesh and Soss (1974), Platt (1984), Stack (1989), Ruhm (2000), and Suzuki (2008). Suicide is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide and even higher among young people as presented in WHO (2002). Internationally, suicide rates range between less than 10 and 25 per 100,000 people, see Kaplan and Sadock (1993) as cited in Yaniv (2001). Due to lack of complete data on causes of suicides and success rates (deaths/suicide attempts) we are able to provide only some statistics for Turkey. According to statistics reported by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TSI), between 1974 and 2006, on average more than 1500 people in Turkey (approximately 1% of the total number of deaths) deliberately kill themselves each year. Even though this number is only a small fraction of the total number of deaths in Turkey, starting from 1974 it has grown by more than 350% whereas the population has increased by only 79%. It is also possible that these numbers are even higher in reality than reported, because many suicide deaths are incorrectly listed as accidents or homicides.2 Looking at the raw data one may argue the importance of suicides in Turkey. At first this may seem as a valid argument compared to other industrialized economies’ suicide rates. However, Turkey's economy is rapidly growing and given previous findings on the relationship between suicide rates and urbanization or suicide rates and income levels, it is only a matter of time before we face much greater suicide rates. A small body of literature analyzing suicides from economic theory has been growing since the pioneering study of Hamermesh and Soss (1974). They propose that the decision of suicide is an individual decision-making process which will also be influenced by some economic factors, such as long-run economic growths and cyclical fluctuations in income and in unemployment. Hamermesh and Soss (1974) acknowledge most of the empirical and theoretical work done by sociologists in suicides. However, they argue that several aspects of the suicide problem may be rationalized by an economic theory. It is crystal clear that some suicidal behavior may not be related to any economic factor at all. This paper aims at extending the existing literature by offering a dynamic econometric model of suicides. The proposed dynamic model, Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) has not been employed in the previous empirical studies of suicide. As far as this paper is concerned, there exists no other study which directly deals with the empirical measurement of suicides in Turkey from economic points of view. The remainder of this paper is formed as follows: the next section highlights the literature on suicide, particularly with respect to economic theory. The third section introduces the study's model and methodology. The fourth section discusses the empirical results and the last section presents the conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study has attempted to identify the causes of suicides in Turkey mainly from socioeconomics point of view. The suicides are considered to be related to real per capita income, divorce rates, urbanization, and liquidation. A relatively recent econometric procedure, the ARDL approach to cointegration, has been utilized to obtain the short-run and long-run elasticities of the suicides with respect to the explanatory variables under different selection criterion. On the basis of SBC model selection criterion, the sign expectations for the explanatory variables are fully fulfilled. Of these explanatory variables, the urbanization factor seems to be more dominant than other factors in explaining the suicides. The second major determinant in explaining suicides is income level. The adverse impact of urbanization on suicides is clearly emphasized in the literature. To this end, one may argue that the unplanned urbanization in the major cities of Turkey, such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Adana and Diyarbakir, may have significant impact on suicides. The distorted urbanization is in the form of shanty districts and towns which have been built illegally by the villagers emigrating from their own lands to big cities in search of better employment prospects, education, and health and safety concerns. However, the quality of life and the job prospects in these cities are far less than expectations. The policies aiming at improving the existing infrastructures in the slums and shanty towns along with a substantial level investment in curbing unemployment problems will bring down the level of suicides considerably. This study also points out the importance of income levels in reducing suicides. Like the previous cause, this situation requires a long-term economic policy which particularly focuses on decreasing poverty at every social category of society with a view to curb down suicides. Even though the liquidation of firms has an adverse impact on the suicides, it is rather difficult to overcome cause since it is strongly related to the economic fluctuations in the economy. Finally, reducing the negative impact of divorce on suicides requires essentially the promotion of family values. These social policies should provide special financial provisions for married couples. However, it is crystal clear that the results from this study should be treated with some caution due to data limitations and the variables being employed.