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Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation

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Abstract

The labor-force participation rates of prime-age U.S. workers dropped in March 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have still not fully recovered. Could increased substance abuse during the pandemic be an important contributing factor? Substance-abuse deaths were elevated during the pandemic relative to trend indicating an increase in the number of substance abusers, and abusers of opioids and crystal methamphetamine have lower labor-force participation rates than non-abusers. A range of estimates of the number of additional substance abusers during the pandemic indicate that increased substance abuse can account for 9 to 26 percent of the decline in prime-age labor force participation between February 2020 and June 2021. In HSOA Journal of Addiction and Addictive Disorders (2022), v. 9, n. 2: 100087

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  • Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2022. "Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 35, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  • Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:35
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    1. Karen A. Kopecky, 2011. "The Trend In Retirement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 287-316, May.
    2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2022. "The Downward Spiral," NBER Working Papers 29764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Casey B. Mulligan, 2022. "Lethal Unemployment Bonuses? Substitution and Income Effects on Substance Abuse, 2020-21," NBER Working Papers 29719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Matthew C. Harris & Lawrence M. Kessler & Matthew N. Murray & Beth Glenn, 2020. "Prescription Opioids and Labor Market Pains: The Effect of Schedule II Opioids on Labor Force Participation and Unemployment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(4), pages 1319-1364.
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    10. Alan B. Krueger, 2017. "Where Have All the Workers Gone? An Inquiry into the Decline of the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(2 (Fall)), pages 1-87.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2022. "The Downward Spiral," NBER Working Papers 29764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Charles Ka Yui LEUNG, 2022. "Housing and Macroeconomics," ISER Discussion Paper 1197, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    3. Mary A. Burke & Katherine Grace Carman & Riley Sullivan & Hefei Wen & James Frank Wharam & Hao Yu, 2022. "Employment Trajectories among Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder: Can Evidence-Based Treatment Improve Outcomes?," Working Papers 22-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19 Pandemic; Substance Abuse; Labor-Force Participation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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