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Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?

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  • Hans Melberg
  • Andrew Jones
  • Anne Bretteville-Jensen

Abstract

The gateway hypothesis proposes that cannabis use increases the risk of starting to consume hard drugs. We test this controversial, but influential, hypothesis on a sample of cannabis users employing a unique set of drug prices. A flexible approach is developed to identify the causal gateway effect using a bivariate survival model with shared frailty estimated using a latent class approach. The model suggests two distinct groups; a smaller group of “troubled youths” for whom there is a statistically significant gateway effect that doubles the hazard of starting to use hard drugs and a larger fraction of “most youths” where previous cannabis use has little impact.
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Suggested Citation

  • Hans Melberg & Andrew Jones & Anne Bretteville-Jensen, 2010. "Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 583-603, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:583-603
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-009-0280-z
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    Cited by:

    1. Ayllón, Sara & Ferreira-Batista, Natalia N., 2018. "Unemployment, drugs and attitudes among European youth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 236-248.
    2. Bruce Headey & Ruud Muffels, 2016. "Towards a Theory of Life Satisfaction: Accounting for Stability, Change and Volatility in 25-Year Life Trajectories in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 864, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Anne Line Bretteville‐Jensen & Liana Jacobi, 2011. "Climbing the drug staircase: a Bayesian analysis of the initiation of hard drug use," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 1157-1186, November.
    4. Kelly, Elaine & Rasul, Imran, 2014. "Policing cannabis and drug related hospital admissions: Evidence from administrative records," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 89-114.
    5. Luca Stella, 2017. "Living arrangements in Europe: whether and why paternal retirement matters," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 497-525, June.
    6. Yu-Wei Luke Chu, 2015. "Do Medical Marijuana Laws Increase Hard-Drug Use?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 481-517.
    7. Johansson, Per & Lee, Myoung-jae, 2016. "On Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," IZA Discussion Papers 10247, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gateway hypothesis; Illicit drugs; Duration analysis; Latent class models; I12; I18;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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