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Anti-Bullying Laws and Suicidal Behaviors among Teenagers -- by Daniel I. Rees, Joseph J. Sabia, Gokhan Kumpas

The CDC reports that the association between bullying and suicides among teenagers has generated “concern, even panic,” but polices aimed at combatting bullying have received little attention from researchers. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy, we find that state-level anti-bullying laws (ABLs) reduce bullying victimization, depression and suicidal ideation, with the largest estimated effects for female teenagers and teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning. In addition, ABLs are associated with a 13-16 percent reduction in the suicide rate of female 14- through 18-year-olds. Event-study analyses and falsification tests provide evidence that these estimates can be interpreted causally.