Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #820

The Perils of Returning to School - New Insights into the Seasonality of Youth Suicides

by Vincent Chandler, Dörte Heger and Christiane Wuckel

RWI, 09/2019, 22 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-951-3 DOI: 10.4419/86788951



Taking advantage of temporal and geographical variations in the timing of school holidays in Germany, this paper finds that school holidays cause an 19 percent (0.03 percentage points) decrease in the probability of youth suicide. This effect is constant across different types of holidays (fall, Christmas, winter, Easter, Pentecost, and summer). Moreover, we find evidence of a spike in suicide propensity in the first two days following the end of school holidays. The results are robust to the inclusion of a series of control variables and to different definitions of youth. Overall, this paper suggests that school holidays have a beneficial impact on the well-being of students and that suicide prevention efforts are particularly important in the days following the end of holidays.

JEL-Classification: I12, I21

Keywords: School; suicide; teenagers; bullying; stress