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The Wages of Sin? Illegal Drug Use and the Labour Market

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  • Ziggy MacDonald

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  • Stephen Pudney

    ()

Abstract

type="main" xml:lang="en"> We use data from the British Crime Survey (BCS) to analyse the relationship between illicit drug use and labour market outcomes for a sample of men and women aged 16–25. In using these data we highlight a serious design flaw in the BCS questionnaire structure that presents a serious barrier to statistical modelling of drug use at the individual level. We propose a simple way of overcoming this problem and proceed to estimate a model of occupational attainment jointly determined with unemployment and current drug use, conditional on past drug use. Separating the commonly abused drugs into a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ category, we find that past hard drug use has a significant positive association with current unemployment, but find no significant association between past hard or soft drug use and occupational attainment. We also find no significant association between current drug use and attainment, although we observe that current drug use is associated with current unemployment.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ziggy MacDonald & Stephen Pudney, "undated". "The Wages of Sin? Illegal Drug Use and the Labour Market," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 99/6, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:lpserc:99/6
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/lpserc/pserc99-6.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Kaestner, 1994. "The Effect of Illicit Drug Use on the Labor Supply of Young Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(1), pages 126-155.
    2. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody, 1996. "Employment, unemployment, and problem drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 409-434, August.
    3. Kaestner, Robert, 1991. "The Effect of Illicit Drug Use on the Wages of Young Adults," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 381-412, October.
    4. French, Michael T. & Zarkin, Gary A., 1995. "Is moderate alcohol use related to wages? Evidence from four worksites," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-344, August.
    5. Harper, Barry & Haq, Mohammad, 1997. "Occupational Attainment of Men in Britain," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 638-650, October.
    6. Z. MacDonald & S. Pudney, 2000. "Analysing drug abuse with British Crime Survey data: modelling and questionnaire design issues," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 49(1), pages 95-117.
    7. Ziggy MacDonald & Michael Shields, "undated". "The Impact of Alcohol Use on Occupational Attainment and Wages," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 98/8, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    8. Vivian Hamilton & Barton H. Hamilton, 1997. "Alcohol and Earnings: Does Drinking Yield a Wage Premium," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 135-151, February.
    9. Andrew M. Gill & Robert J. Michaels, 1992. "Does Drug Use Lower Wages?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 419-434, April.
    10. Charles A. Register & Donald R. Williams, 1992. "Labor Market Effects of Marijuana and Cocaine Use among Young Men," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 435-448, April.
    11. Simon M. Burgess & Carol Propper, 1998. "Early health-related behaviours and their impact on later life chances: evidence from the US," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(5), pages 381-399.
    12. Zarkin, Gary A. & French, Michael T. & Mroz, Thomas & Bray, Jeremy W., 1998. "Alcohol use and wages: New results from the national household survey on drug abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 53-68, January.
    13. Zarkin, Gary A. & Mroz, Thomas A. & Bray, Jeremy W. & French, Michael T., 1998. "The relationship between drug use and labor supply for young men," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 385-409, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matt Dickson, 2013. "The Causal Effect of Education on Wages Revisited," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 477-498, August.
    2. Jenny Williams & Christopher L. Skeels, 2006. "The impact of cannabis and cigarette use on health," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 969, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Jenny Williams & Christopher Skeels, 2006. "The Impact of Cannabis Use on Health," De Economist, Springer, vol. 154(4), pages 517-546, December.
    4. Wang, Haining & Smyth, Russell & Cheng, Zhiming, 2017. "The economic returns to proficiency in English in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-104.
    5. M. D. R. Evans & Jonathan Kelley, 2004. "Effects of Family of Origin on Women’s and Men’s Workforce Involvement," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    6. Ziggy MacDonald, 2002. "The Employment Prospects of Scottish and English Drug Abusers," Discussion Papers in Economics 02/2, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.

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