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The Economics of Preemployment Drug Testing


  • Jason Zimmerman

    (South Dakota State University)


A labor market matching model shows that preemployment drug testing leads to a net improvement in social welfare, but the overall level of drug testing will exceed the social optimum. These results hold for wide ranges of parameter values. Drug testing results in fewer and shorter episodes of unemployment for drug-free workers while producing the opposite effect for drug users. Increases in the overall prevalence of drug use can lower the popularity of drug testing.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Zimmerman, 2002. "The Economics of Preemployment Drug Testing," Journal of Economic Insight (formerly the Journal of Economics (MVEA)), Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 47-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:28:y:2002:i:2:p:47-65

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory


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