The Power of the Little Blue Pill: Innovations and Implications of Life Style Drugs in an Aging Population

41 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2014  

Jacob S. LaRiviere

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Hendrik Wolff

University of Washington - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

The launch of Viagra in April 1998 led to a historically unprecedented high usage of erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. We test whether Viagra's introduction significantly influenced outcomes for its target population such as STD rates of older men, as well as its non-target populations, such as divorces, natality, the distribution of the age spread within couples, female STDs and sexual assault rates. We find causal evidence that Viagra's introduction increased Gonorrhea rates in older men by 15-28%. We find no significant evidence of any effects on other variables. We take this as evidence that this lifestyle drug causes significant changes in choices only which affect short term outcomes, while long term planned decisions are unaffected. Overall, we find that the welfare impacts of Viagra with respect to our outcomes of interest are positive and large.

Keywords: prescription drugs, STD, aging population, Viagra, differences-in-differences

JEL Classification: I1, J1, O33, J31

Suggested Citation

LaRiviere, Jacob S. and Wolff, Hendrik, The Power of the Little Blue Pill: Innovations and Implications of Life Style Drugs in an Aging Population. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8261. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2460204

Jacob S. LaRiviere (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga ( email )

Department of Philosophy & Religion (#2753)
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
United States

Hendrik Wolff

University of Washington - Department of Economics

Box 353330
Seattle, WA 98195-3330
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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