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

24 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2008

See all articles by Harald Tauchmann

Harald Tauchmann

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen)

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Date Written: August 1, 2008

Abstract

In contrast to West-Germany, illicit drugs were virtually absent in 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.

Keywords: Illicit drugs, west-east convergence, decomposition

JEL Classification: I12, P36, P23

Suggested Citation

Tauchmann, Harald, West-East Convergence in the Prevalence of Illicit Drugs: Socioeconomics or Culture? (August 1, 2008). Ruhr Economic Paper No. 61, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1280175 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1280175

Harald Tauchmann (Contact Author)

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen
Germany

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