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The Effects of Prices and Policies on the Demand for Marijuana: Evidence from the National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse

  • Matthew C. Farrelly
  • Jeremy W. Bray
  • Gary A. Zarkin
  • Brett W. Wendling
  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Recent studies have shown that efforts to curb alcohol use by increasing the price of alcohol and limiting youth's access have succeeded, but they may have had the unintended consequencce of increasing marijuana use. This possibility is troubling in light of a recent government report that shows that marijuana use among teens more than doubled between 1990 and 1997. What impact will the proposed large increase in cigarette prices have on the demand for other substances such as marijuana? To better understand how the demand for marijuana responds to changes in the policies and prices that affect its use, we explore the National Household Survy on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). Overall, we find that marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco are complements, sot that increasing the price of any one will decrease the demand for marijuana. The results of this paper will help guide the creation of comprehensive policies that curb the use of marijuana in two ways: first, they quantify the effects of policies aimed at curbing the use of each substance, allowing policymakers to evaluate alternative policy options; and second, they clarify the dynamics and interactions between alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use in response to government policies.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6940.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6940.

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Date of creation: Feb 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6940
Note: HE
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  1. Duan, Naihua, et al, 1983. "A Comparison of Alternative Models for the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-26, April.
  2. Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, 1998. "Does increasing the beer tax reduce marijuana consumption?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 557-585, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Frank J. Chaloupka & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Matthew C. Farrelly & Lloyd D. Johnston & Patrick M. O'Malley, 1999. "Do Higher Cigarette Prices Encourage Youth to Use Marijuana?," NBER Working Papers 6939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Henry Saffer & Frank Chaloupka, 1998. "Demographic Differentials in the Demand for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs," NBER Working Papers 6432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. William N. Evans & Matthew C. Farrelly & Edward Montgomery, 1996. "Do Workplace Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking?," NBER Working Papers 5567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Manning, Willard G. & Blumberg, Linda & Moulton, Lawrence H., 1995. "The demand for alcohol: The differential response to price," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 123-148, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1996. "Binge Drinking In College: The Impact Of Price, Availability, And Alcohol Control Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 112-124, October.
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