Effects of Welfare Reform on Illicit Drug Use of Adult Women

22 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2012

See all articles by Hope Corman

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Dhiman Das

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Nancy E. Reichman

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2013

Abstract

Exploiting changes in welfare policy across states and over time and comparing relevant population subgroups within an econometric difference‐in‐differences framework, we estimate the effects of welfare reform on adult women's illicit drug use from 1992 to 2002, the period during which welfare reform unfolded in the United States. The analyses are based on all available and appropriate national data sets, each offering unique strengths and measuring a different drug‐related outcome. We investigate self‐reported illicit drug use (from the National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse and National Surveys on Drug Use and Health), drug‐related prison admissions (from the National Corrections Reporting Program), drug‐related arrests (from Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports), and drug‐related emergency department episodes (from the Drug Abuse Warning Network). We find robust evidence that welfare reform led to a 10%–21% decline in illicit drug use among women at risk of relying on welfare, as well as associated declines in drug‐related arrests (6%–7%), drug‐related hospital emergency department episodes (7%–11%), and possibly drug‐related prison admissions (11%–19%). The findings indicate that an appropriately designed welfare system with sufficient job opportunities for those who are able to work can result in both increases in employment and decreases in drug use.

JEL Classification: I38, K42, J21

Suggested Citation

Corman, Hope and Dave, Dhaval and Das, Dhiman and Reichman, Nancy E., Effects of Welfare Reform on Illicit Drug Use of Adult Women (January 2013). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 51, Issue 1, pp. 653-674, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2182999 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2012.00459.x

Hope Corman (Contact Author)

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
United States
609-895-5559 (Phone)
609-896-5304 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Dhiman Das

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Bukit Timah Road 469 G
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Nancy E. Reichman

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

97 Paterson Street
Room 435
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
United States

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