On Monday, November 11 2019, 14:00 - 15:30, Christoph Kronenberg (CINCH) will present:
New(spaper) Evidence on the Relationship between Gold Discoveries and Suicides
I analyze the relationship between the economy and suicides using the US gold rush as a large unexpected economic shock. The largest US gold rush took place in the southwest of the US. This gold rush becomes public immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty saw exactly the regions with large gold deposits join the US. The gold rush is thus a large economic shock to states with otherwise small economies and minimal infrastructure. I perform the analysis on web scraped data from a newspaper archive and use suicide mentions per 100,000 pages as a proxy for suicides. I validate this proxy and show that it arguably is a good proxy for suicide trends in the 19th century USA. The newspaper archive allows the distinction between actual gold discoveries and the public knowledge of these discoveries. Results show that overall gold discoveries are associated with a small reduction in newspaper suicide prevalence of up to 2% in states discovering substantial amounts of gold and joining the US due to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. For these regions the size of a discovery per prevented suicide mention are similar to modern estimates of cost-effective interventions.
Room: WST-C.02.12, Weststadttürme Berliner Platz 6-8, Essen
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