Prescription Opioids and Labor Market Pains: The Effect of Schedule II Opioids on Labor Force Participation and Unemployment

44 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018

See all articles by Matthew Harris

Matthew Harris

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration

Lawrence Kessler

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Center for Business and Economic Research

Matthew N. Murray

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Beth Glenn

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 28, 2018

Abstract

We examine the effect of prescription opioids on county labor market outcomes, using data from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs of ten U.S. states and labor data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We achieve causal identification by exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in the concentration of high-volume prescribers as instruments (using Medicare Part D prescriber data). We find strong adverse effects on labor force participation rates, employment- to-population ratios, and unemployment rates. Notably, a 10 percent increase in prescriptions causes a 0.56 percentage point reduction in labor force participation, similar to the drop attributed to the 1984 liberalization of Disability Insurance.

Keywords: Health Behavior, Labor Force Parcipation, Substance Abuse, Regional Labor Markets

JEL Classification: I12, J21

Suggested Citation

Harris, Matthew and Kessler, Lawrence and Murray, Matthew N. and Glenn, M. Elizabeth, Prescription Opioids and Labor Market Pains: The Effect of Schedule II Opioids on Labor Force Participation and Unemployment (March 28, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3174878 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3174878

Matthew Harris (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration ( email )

TN
United States

Lawrence Kessler

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Center for Business and Economic Research ( email )

Temple Court, Suite 100
804 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-4334
United States

Matthew N. Murray

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

508 Stokely Management Center
Knoxville, TN 37996-0550
United States
865-974-5441 (Phone)

M. Elizabeth Glenn

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

508 Stokely Management Center
Knoxville, TN 37996-0550
United States

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