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The Demand for Cocaine by Young Adults: A Rational Addiction Approach

  • Michael Grossman
  • Frank J. Chaloupka
  • Charles C. Brown

This paper applies the rational addiction model, which emphasizes the interdependency of past, current, and future consumption of an addictive good, to the demand for cocaine by young adults in the Monitoring the Future Panel. The price of cocaine is added to this survey from the System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence (STRIDE) maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice. Results suggest that annual participation and frequency of use given participation are negatively related to the price of cocaine. In addition current participation is positively related to past and future participation, and current frequency of use given participation is positively related to past and future frequency of use. The long-run price elasticity of total consumption (participation multiplied by frequency given participation) of -1.18 is substantial. A permanent 10 percent reduction in price due, for example, to the legalization of cocaine would cause the number of cocaine users to grow by slightly more than 8 percent and would increase the frequency of use among users by a little more than 3 percent. Surely, both proponents and opponents of drug legalization should take account of this increase in consumption in debating their respective positions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5713.

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Date of creation: Aug 1996
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Publication status: published as Journal of Health Economics, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 427-474, August, 1998.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5713
Note: HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
  2. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  3. Frank J. Chaloupka & Adit Laixuthai, 1994. "Do Youths Substitute Alcohol and Marijuana? Some Econometric Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Caulkins Jonathan P., 1995. "Domestic Geographic Variation in Illicit Drug Prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 38-56, January.
  5. Nisbet, Charles T & Vakil, Firouz, 1972. "Some Estimates of Price and Expenditure Elasticities of Demand for Marijuana Among U.C.L.A. Students," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(4), pages 473-75, November.
  6. Douglas Coate & Michael Grossman, 1986. "Effects of Alcoholic Beverage Prices and Legal Drinking Ages on Youth Alcohol Use," NBER Working Papers 1852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  8. John DiNardo & Thomas Lemieux, 1992. "Alcohol, Marijuana, and American Youth: The Unintended Effects of Government Regulation," NBER Working Papers 4212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
  10. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1991. "Rational Addiction and the Effect of Price on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 237-41, May.
  11. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-86, January.
  12. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  13. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  14. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Ismail Sirtalan, 1995. "An Empirical Analysis of Alcohol Addiction: Results from the Monitoring the Future Panels," NBER Working Papers 5200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," NBER Working Papers 3322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Wasserman, Jeffrey & Manning, Willard G. & Newhouse, Joseph P. & Winkler, John D., 1991. "The effects of excise taxes and regulations on cigarette smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 43-64, May.
  18. Griliches, Zvi, 1979. "Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S37-64, October.
  19. 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.
  20. Silverman, Lester P. & Spruill, Nancy L., 1977. "Urban crime and the price of heroin," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 80-103, January.
  21. Leung, Siu Fai & Yu, Shihti, 1996. "On the choice between sample selection and two-part models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 197-229.
  22. Frank J. Chaloupka, 1990. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," NBER Working Papers 3268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Keeler, Theodore E. & Hu, Teh-Wei & Barnett, Paul G. & Manning, Williard G., 1993. "Taxation, regulation, and addiction: A demand function for cigarettes based on time-series evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-18, April.
  24. Manning, W. G. & Duan, N. & Rogers, W. H., 1987. "Monte Carlo evidence on the choice between sample selection and two-part models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 59-82, May.
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