The debt crisis, austerity measures, and suicide in Greece

Charis E. Kubrin, Bradley J. Bartos, Richard McCleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: How are economic downturns and suicide related?. Objective: This study examines the link between economically driven austerity measures implemented during a recent economic downturn—the Greek debt crisis—and suicide for the population as a whole, as well as for men and women separately. Methods: Utilizing a 50-nation panel containing annual suicide counts and population demographics for the years 1995–2015 from the World Health Organization's Mortality archive, the analysis employs a synthetic control design, a quasi-experimental approach that allows us to causally model the relationship between Greece's International Monetary Fund-imposed austerity measures and suicide, something that has hampered prior research efforts. Results: Findings show austerity policies corresponded with increased suicide rates in Greece for the population as a whole and for men and women. Robustness tests confirm these results. Conclusions: We discuss the implications of the findings for the current economic crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-140
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • austerity
  • economic downturns
  • suicide
  • synthetic control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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