These authors argue that estimates of the net economic cost of suicide should go beyond accounting for direct medical costs and indirect costs from loss of earnings by those who commit suicide. There are potential savings from (a) not having to treat the depressive and other psychiatric disorders of those who kill themselves; (b) avoidance of pension, social security and nursing home care costs; and (c) assisted-suicide. By combining all of these costs and savings, it is concluded that the net economic cost of the 30,906 completed suicides in 1990 entailed an economic gain for the society of roughly $5.07 billion in year - 2005 dollars. This calculation does not include estimated costs due to the psychological pain and suffering of the survivors. Suicide should be prevented based on humane considerations, not on the economic cost involved.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Economics and International Business, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Center for the Study of Suicide, Blackwood, New Jersey, USA
April 1, 2007
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