Climbing the Drug Staircase: A Bayesian Analysis of the Initiation of Hard Drug Use
Empirical studies have found that cannabis commonly precedes consumption of drugs like amphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. As a result a causal linkage between cannabis and subsequent hard drug use has been hypothesized. Despite mixed empirical evidence and a limited understanding of possible transmission mechanisms, the causal gateway hypothesis has been influential in formulating a strict drug policy in many western countries. Individual differences in proneness and accessibility, however, provide alternative, non-causal explanations for the observed "staircase" pattern and yield potentially different policy implications. We propose a Bayesian estimation and predictive framework to analyze the effects and relative importance of previous cannabis use, proneness and accessibility factors on hard drug initiation and to explore potential policy implications, using data from a unique recent survey of young adults in Norway. Motivated by the gateway transmission channels proposed in the literature, our model allows for a constant and a heterogeneous effect of previous cannabis use on hard drug initiation and, also, a more flexible correlation pattern for the unobservables. We find that proneness, accessibility and previous cannabis use contribute to the observed higher drug use pattern among cannabis users. The latter has the largest effect and is driven by various transmission channels.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986.
"A Theory of Rational Addiction,"
University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Chib, Siddhartha & Jacobi, Liana, 2007. "Modeling and calculating the effect of treatment at baseline from panel outcomes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 781-801, October.
- van Ours, Jan C, 2001.
"Is Cannabis a Stepping-Stone for Cocaine?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3116, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Stephen Pudney, 2003. "The Road to Ruin? Sequences of Initiation to Drugs and Crime in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C182-C198, March.
- van Ours, Jan C & Williams, Jenny, 2005.
"Cannabis Prices and Dynamics of Cannabis Use,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
4991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Chib, Siddhartha, 2007. "Analysis of treatment response data without the joint distribution of potential outcomes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 401-412, October.
- Beenstock, Michael & Rahav, Giora, 2002. "Testing Gateway Theory: do cigarette prices affect illicit drug use?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 679-698, July.
- Hans Melberg & Andrew Jones & Anne Bretteville-Jensen, 2010.
"Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?,"
Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 583-603, June.
- Hans Olav Melberg & Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
- Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen & Erik Biørn, 2004. "Do prices count? A micro-econometric study of illicit drug consumption based on self-reported data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 673-695, 09.
- Jeffrey DeSimone, 1998. "Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 149-164, Spring.
- Bretteville-Jensen Anne L & Melberg Hans O & Jones Andrew M, 2008.
"Sequential Patterns of Drug Use Initiation - Can We Believe In the Gateway Theory?,"
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,
De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-31, January.
- Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen & Hans Olav Melberg & Andrew M Jones, 2005. "Sequential patterns of drug use initiation – can we believe in the gateway theory?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 05/09, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3879. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.