Publication

Reply to Plewis, Murari et al., and Das: The suicide–temperature link in India and the evidence of an agricultural channel are robust

Tamma A. Carleton, Reply to Plewis, Murari et al., and Das: The suicide–temperature link in India and the evidence of an agricultural channel are robust, PNAS 2017; published ahead of print December 29, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1715454115

Abstract

In Carleton (1) I demonstrate that increases in growing-season temperatures in India contribute to rising suicide rates. In secondary analysis, I show correlational evidence of an agricultural channel, in which heat damages crops and crop losses induce suicide. The concerns raised by Murari et al. (2), Das (3), and Plewis (4) have three common features. First, they fail to acknowledge that I quantify the elevated risk of suicide due to the climate, superimposed upon risks from other factors, such as health, religion, or substance abuse, all of which are accounted for nonparametrically. Second, they focus on the agricultural mechanism, such that their implications have no bearing on the primary findings in Carleton (1). Finally, the authors incorrectly claim that many results recovered from data were assumptions made before analysis. Here I respond to each critique. Across all additional tests, the original findings in Carleton (1) remain unaffected, and often are strengthened.