literature probing the natural suicide rate hypothesis appears to have split
into two factions. The first focuses on testing the strictly positive rate
premise using 'ideal' socioeconomic conditioned empirically predicted values. The
second examines the stationarity of the suicide rate time series. By exploiting
an expansive (4 decade) panel of U.S. state-level suicide rates and
characteristics, this paper aims to debit the inventories of both factions of
the literature. Regarding the first, we provide a long-panel (3 decade) test of
the strictly positive rate hypothesis where results reinforce the growing
consensus that, even under the most pristine socioeconomic state, suicide
occurrence endures. Additionally, we test the stationarity of U.S. suicide
rates over time. Using panel methods that allow for cross-sectional dependence
and structural deviations, we find strong evidence of non-stationarity (unit
root) for the common factors of suicide rates in the U.S. This latter finding
casts doubt on the usefulness of the natural suicide rate hypothesis.
Keywords: Natural suicide rate, Unit root, Panel data.
JEL Classifications: C32, C33, R12.