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Note: This question is for the purposes of improving my answers so they better fit this site's requirements, as the help center is rather vague on this point.

Have 36 bankers died in 2014 from accidents, suicide, and murder?

In this question, my answer was deleted for being a sourced interpretation. Assuming this rule is applied equally to everyone, this is a fair reason to delete it.

However, another answer was posted, which essentially used the exact same arguments. This answer was not deleted, and was also accepted.

This was also posted as the reason for deletion:

You would need to show that bankers normally have an expected suicide rate equal to the rest of the population, and haven't got a lower rate despite, for example, having a much higher salary and higher education than the typical population. Rather than doing this calculation yourself, find an expert who has done it (ideally, peer-reviewed) and quote that.

However, it seems that the other accepted answer has not shown this either.

Why then, are the two answers considered different?

The two answers are quoted below:

My answer:

I would argue that whether the exact claim of 36 bankers is true or not, the number is not meaningful, due to it being completely usual and expected.

American suicide rates by age (according to the CDC) are around 3-30 per 100,000 people, depending on age and ethnicity. Notably, men are roughly 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women of the same age and ethnicity.

Bank of America alone employs 240,000 people. As such, if we only look at suicides, and even if we assume the lowest reported suicide rate of 3 per 100,000 in Hispanic women, and assuming that the entirety of Bank of America's employee base have this low rate, we are looking at 7 suicides alone per year. Add accidents, gun murders (~3-4 per 100,000) and the number of 36 people seems to be completely normal.

I would go so far to say that if only 36 bankers die per year worldwide from unnatural causes/violence/suicide, banking would be one of the safest professions.

The accepted answer:

The first step is to define "banker". The job titles listed on that blog include such a broad spectrum of jobs and businesses, everything from actual bankers to IT specialists to financial journalists to management, that I'll go with a definition of "employed in the finance or insurance sectors" (the two being hard to separate).

The second step is to define a baseline: how many people can be expected to die in a year from "murders, accidents and questionable suicides". According to the CDC, in the United States the annual death rate from accidents is 40.6 per 100,000 and the annual death rate from homicides is 5.2 per 100,000. There are no statistics for "questionable suicides", but since the annual death rate from suicide in general is 12.7 per 100,000, we known the overall baseline rate is somewhere between 45.8 and 58.5 per 100,000.

According to commerce.gov, the United States alone employs 5.87 million people who the blog might classify as "bankers". Assuming the list is comprehensive, a "non-natural death rate" of 0.61 per 100,000 makes "banker" the safest job in the world by far.

There may be some reporting bias in the blog: all the deaths appear to be related to big-name banks. We can compensate for that by looking at a subset, such as employees of JPMorgan Chase: 8 out of the 36 deaths happened there. Approximately 250,000 people are employed by them, giving a death rate of 3.2 per 100,000 -- still far below baseline.

Overall, it doesn't matter if the list is accurate or not: the sheer number of people employed in the finance industry means that 36 "murders, accidents and questionable suicides" is nothing unusual.

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The fundamental difference is that the other answer was added after yours was deleted, and no mod had seen it yet. I've since removed it.

The answers were removed because they did not answer the question. Either 36 bankers died or they did not. Statistics are utterly irrelevant. Let's assume that statistically there should be 3 dead bankers (or 300!). Does it make any difference to the question? What matters is how many actually committed suicide. That's a real number which is either correct or it is not.

You need to find this number in order to answer.

See also: FAQ: What are theoretical answers?

  • Actually, they did answer the question that OP asked. "are all those people actually bankers and did they all die in the manner claimed, and mainly is this unusual given the number of bankers worldwide and the rate of such incidents in the general population? Are bankers more likely to die in a "suspicious" manner than other people?" – March Ho Dec 29 '14 at 22:31
  • Well, if that number is confirmed, then it makes any sense to see if it's unusual. You can't really compare an average to a made up number. Also, neither answer really used statistics on bankers suicides which is obviously they kind of statistics is being asked about here. In other words, we are not trying to assign a "likelyhood" to that number. – Sklivvz Dec 29 '14 at 22:39

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