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Welfare Checks, Drug Consumption, and Health: Evidence from Vancouver Injection Drug Users

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  • Chris Riddell
  • Rosemarie Riddell

Abstract

This paper investigates the link between welfare payments and drug use among injection drug users. We find an increase in the likelihood of an overdose in the days following check arrival, and in the probability of leaving the hospital against medical advice (AMA) on check day. Using the check arrival date as an instrument, we estimate the Local Average Treatment Effect of leaving AMA on subsequent readmission and the probability of a drug overdose. The results indicate that, for individuals influenced by check day, leaving AMA leads to readmission much sooner than planned discharge, longer subsequent stays in the hospital, and a substantial increase in the probability of a drug overdose.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Riddell & Rosemarie Riddell, 2006. "Welfare Checks, Drug Consumption, and Health: Evidence from Vancouver Injection Drug Users," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:41:y:2006:i:1:p138-161
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wilcox, David W, 1989. "Social Security Benefits, Consumption Expenditure, and the Life Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 288-304, April.
    2. Melvin Stephens Jr., 2003. ""3rd of tha Month": Do Social Security Recipients Smooth Consumption Between Checks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 406-422, March.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1991:81:2:212-215_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
    5. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    6. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Elvira & Lundborg, Petter & Vikström, Johan, 2015. "Income receipt and mortality — Evidence from Swedish public sector employees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 21-32.
    2. Dobkin, Carlos & Puller, Steven L., 2007. "The effects of government transfers on monthly cycles in drug abuse, hospitalization and mortality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2137-2157, December.
    3. William N. Evans & Timothy J. Moore, 2009. "Liquidity, Activity, Mortality," NBER Working Papers 15310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Evans, William N. & Moore, Timothy J., 2011. "The short-term mortality consequences of income receipt," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1410-1424.
    5. Alex Hollingsworth & Christopher J. Ruhm & Kosali Simon, 2017. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Opioid Abuse," NBER Working Papers 23192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. McNeil, Ryan & Small, Will & Wood, Evan & Kerr, Thomas, 2014. "Hospitals as a ‘risk environment’: An ethno-epidemiological study of voluntary and involuntary discharge from hospital against medical advice among people who inject drugs," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 59-66.
    7. Krebs, Emanuel & Wang, Linwei & Olding, Michelle & DeBeck, Kora & Hayashi, Kanna & Milloy, M.-J. & Wood, Evan & Nosyk, Bohdan & Richardson, Lindsey, 2016. "Increased drug use and the timing of social assistance receipt among people who use illicit drugs," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 94-102.

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