Parents’ Earnings Response to Youth Suicide: Evidence From New Zealand Administrative Records
The loss of a child is one of the most devastating shocks a parent can experience. We provide the first estimates of the direct effect of youth suicide on parental labour earnings. We use mortality data in the New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure to identify youth who died from intentional self-harm, and birth records to identify affected parents and their wage and salary information. We graph the parental earnings profiles before and after the suicide event, and construct counterfactual earnings profiles for the affected parents, using a comparison group of parents hit by the same shock in the future. Our results show that labour earnings for affected households drop by approximately 6.5% compared to their counterfactual earnings following the child loss, and that the earnings drop persists for at least two years following the suicide.