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Unemployment, drugs and attitudes among European youth

Sara Ayllón () and Natalia N. Ferreira-Batista

Journal of Health Economics, 2018, vol. 57, issue C, 236-248

Abstract: This paper studies changes in the patterns of drug consumption and attitudes towards drugs in relation to sky-high (youth) unemployment rates brought about by the Great Recession. Our analysis is based on data for 28 European countries that refer to young people. We find that the consumption of cannabis and ‘new substances’ is positively related to increasing unemployment rates. An increase of 1% in the regional unemployment rate is associated with an increase of 0.7 percentage points in the ratio of young people who state that they have consumed cannabis at some point in time. Our findings also indicate that higher unemployment may be associated with more young people perceiving that access to drugs has become more difficult, particularly access to ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. According to young Europeans, when the economy worsens, anti-drug policies should focus on the reduction of poverty and unemployment, and not on implementing tougher measures against users.

Keywords: Unemployment; Drugs; Youth; Attitudes; Effective policies; Great recession; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 K42 E32 D12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.08.005

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