Measuring the Impact of Crack Cocaine
AbstractA wide range of social indicators turned sharply negative for Blacks in the late 1980s and began to rebound roughly a decade later. We explore whether the rise and fall of crack cocaine can explain these patterns. Absent a direct measure of crack cocaine%u2019s prevalence, we construct an index based on a range of indirect proxies (cocaine arrests, cocaine-related emergency room visits, cocaine-induced drug deaths, crack mentions in newspapers, and DEA drug busts). The crack index we construct reproduces many of the spatial and temporal patterns described in ethnographic and popular accounts of the crack epidemic. We find that our measure of crack can explain much of the rise in Black youth homicides, as well as more moderate increases in a wide range of adverse birth outcomes for Blacks in the 1980s. Although our crack index remains high through the 1990s, the deleterious social impact of crack fades. One interpretation of this result is that changes over time in behavior, crack markets, and the crack using population mitigated the damaging impacts of crack. Our analysis suggests that the greatest social costs of crack have been associated with the prohibition-related violence, rather than drug use per se.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11318.
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Note: CH HC LE LS
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
- Steven D. Levitt, 1998.
"Juvenile Crime and Punishment,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
- Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
- Derek Neal, 2005.
"Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?,"
NBER Working Papers
11090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ted Joyce, 2001. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," NBER Working Papers 8319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Darren Lubotsky & Martin Wittenberg, 2006.
"Interpretation of Regressions with Multiple Proxies,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 549-562, August.
- Darren Lubotsky & Martin Wittenberg, 2001. "Interpretation of Regressions with Multiple Proxies," Econometrics 0110005, EconWPA.
- Darren Lubotsky & Martin Wittenberg, 2001. "Interpretation of Regressions with Multiple Proxies," Working Papers 836, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Steven D. Levitt & Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, 1998.
"An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances,"
NBER Working Papers
6592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven D. Levitt & Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, 2000. "An Economic Analysis Of A Drug-Selling Gang'S Finances," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 755-789, August.
- H. Naci Mocan & Hope Corman, 2000. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime, Deterrence, and Drug Abuse in New York City," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 584-604, June.
- John J. Donohue & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Legalized Abortion and Crime," JCPR Working Papers 104, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.