Essay Example on The number of suicides in Thailand

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Over the past ten years the number of suicides in Thailand has been consistently ranging between 3 600 to 4 000 people every year To be more specific there were 3 941 and 3 950 suicides in 2005 and 2014 respectively Although there was a sharp decrease of 329 in 2006 the number of suicides has generally been increasing over the last decade Figure 1 Similarly in 2005 the suicide rate in Thailand was 6 34 per 100 000 people and it drops to 6 08 per 100 000 people in 2014 However it can be clearly seen that the suicide rate has generally been increasing since 2011 at higher than 6 suicides per 100 000 inhabitants Figure 2 The question of whether or not economic factors such as level of income debt unemployment rate as well as social factors would leads to high suicide rates of individuals has received wide attention among scholars A huge number of empirical studies using data of developed economies have been reviewed in an attempt to combat rising suicide rates worldwide Hamermesh and Soss 1974 Kimenyi and Shugart 1986 Yang 1992 Ausendar 1993 Chuang and Huang 1997 Lin 2006 Chen Choi and Sawada 2008 Minoiu and Andres 2008 Halicioglu and Andres 2010 However the research on this topic using data of Thailand is very limited In particular there is only the work of Punyasawatsut 2011 which used time series exploration in order to find out the determinants which may explain the suicide rate in Thailand My research in contrast employs the cross sectional analysis as it can better explain the impact of cultural social and economic differences among regions

Theoretical Framework From economics viewpoint the relationship between economic factors and suicide rates began with Hamermesh and Soss article in 1974 According to the theory income and age of an individual determine the probability of the suicide Utility Maximization Model is adopted and detailed as follows An Economic theory of suicide of Hamermesh and Soss 1974 is developed further by Crouch 1979 He suggested that a person commits suicide when the combination between enjoyment of life and distaste for suicide is larger or equivalent to zero E D where D is distaste for suicide E is enjoyment from life which is determined by their family income and cost of living of their family In conclusion the theory delivered five assumptions as follows Lester and Yang 1997 The more the income the less the probability of the suicide The more the expenditure or cost of living the more the probability of suicide As one is getting older one tends to have more expenditure Thus the probability of suicide is expected to magnify for elderly Divorce lead to the reduction of household income Therefore an individual who experiences such a circumstance is more likely to commit suicide Regarding income variables since a majority of Thais works in agricultural which is different from those in industrialized countries it is necessary to incorporate factors presenting agrarian employment in model 



Citizens of Thailand in the agricultural sector tend to have lower and unsteady income Other social factors often included in previous literatures are the following alcohol consumption population density and status of female in family relationship Alcohol can increase the chance of a person committing suicide as he is incapable in controlling his actions appropriately Population density is usually an outcome of urbanized industrialized and thus modernized economy This is often claimed as one of the major factors leading to more suicide rates due to the privation of social supports Next in a society in which women are inferior Japan for example the tendency of women committing suicide is more likely to be seen Model and Data From a theoretical viewpoints in the previous section the factors which may have relationship with suicide rates can be found using multiple regression analysis

The models can be presented as follows Model 1 SUICIDE β _0 β _1 EXPENDITURE β _2 INCOME β _3 DEBT β _4 U β _5 FEMH β _6 AGE60 β _7 POPD β _8 DIV β _9 NAGRI β _10 ALR20 ε Model 2 SUICIDE β _0 β _1 EXPENDITURE β _2 INCOME β _3 DEBT β _4 U β _5 FEMH β _6 AGE60 β _7 POPD β _8 DIV β _9 NAGRI β _10 ALR15 ε The dependent variable is suicide rates SUICIDE INCOME is average household income EXPENDITURE and DEBT are average household expenditure and debt respectively U is unemployment rate FEMH is the percentage of woman that are counted as the head of the family AGE60 is the percentage of individual above 60 POPD is the population density NAGRI is the percentage of the type of employment in corporate firms and government related sectors DIV is divorce rates ALR20 is the prevalence of alcohol consumption for adult over the age of 20 This is the percentage of adult consuming alcohol within one year ALR15 is the percentage of youth age 15 19 consuming alcohol within one year Note that this is prohibited by Thai law


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