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Mental Illness and the Demand for Alcohol, Cocaine, and Cigarettes

  • Henry Saffer
  • Dhaval Dave

This article estimates the effect of mental illness on demand for addictive substances, allowing for structural endogeneity and simultaneity between mental illness and addictive consumption. Results show that individuals with a history of mental illness are 26% more likely to consume alcohol, 66% more likely to consume cocaine, and 89% more likely to consume cigarettes. This high-participation group is also price-responsive, although their price elasticities differ somewhat from those without mental illness. The results provide added justification for higher taxes and supply reduction activities. Furthermore, subsidizing the treatment of mental illness can reduce addictive consumption.(JEL I1) Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ei/cbi016
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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 43 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 229-246

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:43:y:2005:i:2:p:229-246
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  1. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, March.
  2. Joshua Angrist, 1999. "Estimation of Limited-Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Working papers 99-31, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Kenkel, Donald S, 1996. "New Estimates of the Optimal Tax on Alcohol," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 296-319, April.
  4. Manning, Willard G. & Blumberg, Linda & Moulton, Lawrence H., 1995. "The demand for alcohol: The differential response to price," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 123-148, June.
  5. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
  6. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, August.
  7. Grossman, Michael & Chaloupka, Frank J., 1998. "The demand for cocaine by young adults: a rational addiction approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 427-474, August.
  8. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 396-418, June.
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