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Opioids and the Labor Market

Author

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  • Dionissi Aliprantis
  • Kyle Fee
  • Mark E. Schweitzer

Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between local opioid prescription rates and labor market outcomes for prime-age men and women between 2006 and 2016. We estimate the relationship at the most disaggregated level feasible in the American Community Survey in order to provide estimates that include rural areas that have, in some cases, seen particularly high prescription rates. Given the limited time period, it is particularly important to account for geographic variation in both short-term and long-term economic conditions. We estimate three panel models to control for evolving local economic conditions: a di?erence-in-di?erences specification, a specification with specific controls for economic conditions, and a model that focuses on a comparison group of place with similar performance in 2000. These modelling approaches find a range of statistically significant and economically substantial results for both prime-age men and women. For example, we find that a 10 percent higher local prescription rate is associated with a decrease in the prime-age labor force participation rate of between 0.15 and 0.47 percentage points for men and between 0.15 and 0.19 percentage points for women, depending on the control strategy. We also estimate effects for narrower demographic groups and find substantially larger estimates for some groups, notably for white and minority men with less than a BA. We also present evidence on reverse causality. We show that a short-term unemployment shock did not increase the share of people misusing prescription opioids and that prescription levels vary substantially within quintiles of longer-term labor market performance. Our estimates are generally robust to estimation within those quintiles of 2000 labor market performance. These results argue against theories of reverse causation that rely on prescriptions rates being higher in labor markets that were already weaker.

Suggested Citation

  • Dionissi Aliprantis & Kyle Fee & Mark E. Schweitzer, 2019. "Opioids and the Labor Market," Working Papers 18-07R2, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwq:180702
    DOI: 10.26509/frbc-wp-201807r2
    Note: This paper is the second revision to the paper originally published as WP 18-07 in May of 2018. The first revision was published in March of 2019
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    Cited by:

    1. Cornelius A. Rietveld & Pankaj C. Patel, 0. "Prescription opioids and new business establishments," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-25.
    2. David Cho & Daniel I. Garcia & Joshua Montes & Alison E. Weingarden, 2021. "Labor Market Effects of the Oxycodone-Heroin Epidemic," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-025, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Park, Sujeong & Powell, David, 2021. "Is the rise in illicit opioids affecting labor supply and disability claiming rates?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    4. Joyce Manchester & Riley Sullivan, 2019. "Exploring causes of and responses to the opioid epidemic in New England," New England Public Policy Center Policy Reports 19-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Carolina Arteaga Cabrales & Victoria Barone, 2021. "The Opioid Epidemic: Causes and Consequences," Working Papers tecipa-698, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    6. Francisco Perez-Arce & Maria J. Prados & Tarra Kohli, 2018. "The Decline in the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Working Papers wp385, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2019. "Drivers of the fatal drug epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 25-42.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor Force Participation; Great Recession; Opioid Prescription Rate; Opioid Abuse;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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