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West-East Convergence in the Prevalence of Illicit Drugs: Socioeconomics or Culture?

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  • Tauchmann, Harald

Abstract

In contrast to West-Germany, illicit drugs were virtually absent in the East-Germany until 1990. Yet, after the collapse of the former GDR, East-Germany was expected to encounter a sharp increase in the prevalence of substance abuse. By analyzing individual data, we find that East-Germany largely caught up with West-Germany?s ever-growing prevalence of illicit drugs within a single decade. We decompose the west-east difference in prevalence rates into an explained and an unexplained part using a modified Blinder-Oaxaca procedure. This decomposition suggests that the observed convergence is just weakly related to socioeconomic characteristics and therefore remains mainly unexplained. That is, West- and East-Germans seem to have become more alike per se. We conclude that both parts of the country have converged in terms of the culture of drug consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Tauchmann, Harald, 2008. "West-East Convergence in the Prevalence of Illicit Drugs: Socioeconomics or Culture?," Economics Discussion Papers 2008-8, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:7129
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-411, July.
    2. Stephen Pudney, 2004. "Keeping off the grass? An econometric model of cannabis consumption in Britain," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 435-453.
    3. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    4. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2007. "Cannabis prices and dynamics of cannabis use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 578-596, May.
    5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    6. Ben Jann, 2005. "Standard Errors for the Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition," German Stata Users' Group Meetings 2005 03, Stata Users Group.
    7. Jeff DeSimone & Matthew C. Farrelly, 2003. "Price and Enforcement Effects on Cocaine and Marijuana Demand," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 98-115, January.
    8. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    illicit drugs; west-east convergence; decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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