Martti Ahtisaari International Doctoral Scholarship Programme

  • Year of admission: 2017
  • Home country: Finland
  • Research topic: Empirical economic studies on human behavior (economics)
  • Main thesis supervisor: Professor Mikko Puhakka

My doctoral thesis concentrates on widening the understanding of human behavior. All included studies are empirical studies in the field of socio-economics. By using econometric techniques, an economic approach is taken in these studies  in examining human behavior. Economic reasoning and analysis can be applied to various issues in society, including the determinants of well-being or family life, which I am focusing on. Important parts of that world consist of the behavior of the people – divorcing and suicidal actions, for example. The tools of economics provide one way of attempting to understand human behavior and to test that understanding against the observed facts.

In the first study, the effect of alcohol consumption on divorce is explored by asking whether the aggregate alcohol consumption has any effect on the divorce rates across countries. The argument in the study is that alcohol consumption is an important socio-economic factor behind the trend of divorce rates in Western countries.

The second and third studies concentrate on economics of suicide. In the second study, well-being effects of unemployment on regional population in Finland are explored. The first contribution is to extend the existing literature of the effect of unemployment on well-being by exploring how the expectations of the future job loss might affect suicide rates. The second main contribution of this study is in exploring whether the association between unemployment and suicide is affected significantly by the social norm effect.

The third study aims at providing evidence on the effects of how economic crises affect suicides in developed countries. The recent studies on the relation between economic downturns and suicides have almost completely concentrated on the recent global financial crisis. In this study a broader view is taken by comparing severities of different types of economic crises regarding the suicide mortality in the long run.

Previous degrees:

M.Sc. (Econ.), Economics, University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Economics (2009)


Huikari, S. & Korhonen, M. (2016). The Impact of Unemployment on Well-Being: Evidence from the Regional Level Suicide Data in Finland. Social Indicators Research 128(3), 1103–1119.

Huikari, S., Korhonen, M. & Puhakka, M. (2016). 'Til booze do us part: alcohol consumption and marital dissolution. Empirical economics 51(2), 831–852.