A Comparative Analysis of Suicide, Economic Growth and Unemployment Rates: South Asian Context


  • Saumya Langappuli University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
  • Olithi Langappuli Advanced Technological Institute Tangalle




It is a universal truth that suicide is a massive public concern across the world but yet what drives people to take their own lives is widely uncertain. This deadliest action is referred as a well-known psychological or mental illness and many researchers have struggled to find the exact solution or a way to prevent this life-threatening tragedy using various socio-economic variables. However, still according to the WHO records more than 700,000 people commit suicide every year, simply one person per 40 seconds. The objective of this study is to explore the influence of economic growth and unemployment on suicide rate in Asian regions in the context of rapid economic development and unemployment rate fluctuations. The suicide data with gender preference, GDP growth rate, and the unemployment rate of all eight south Asian countries are collected for the period of 2000 to 2019. According to the descriptive analysis, the behaviour of suicide rate is relatively high in Sri Lanka and India compared to other Asian countries. Suicide rates for the Maldives, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan have remained stable. Then the dependent variable, suicide rate has been partially analysed according to the two independent variables, economic growth and unemployment rate using the partial correlation by confounding one variable at a time. The influence of unemployment held constant, the GDP per capita was found to have an insignificant but negative and lower interrelation with the suicide rate in most countries. From all eight countries only India and Bangladesh have a considerable influence of economic growth on suicide over the 20-year period. Moreover, only Afghanistan and Nepal have shed insignificant influence between the unemployment and the suicide rate whilst controlling the impact of economic growth and all other economies’ suicide decisions are at least moderately influenced by the unemployment rate factor, emphasising the link between the unemployment rate and the suicide rate is realistic. Prompt action in this regard is not a micro-scale government obligation. The factual results as illustrated in this study have vital implications for the Sri Lankan government regarding the remarkable flow of the suicide rate. In the long run, the most suitable solution to unemployment is creating new innovative employment opportunities.

Keywords: Suicide, Unemployment Rate, GDP Growth, Partial Correlation