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Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation

Jeremy Greenwood, Nezih Guner () and Karen Kopecky ()
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Karen Kopecky: FRB Atlanta Emory University

PIER Working Paper Archive from Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: The labor-force participation rates of prime-age U.S. workers dropped in March 2020—the start of the COVID-19 pandemic—and have still not fully recovered. At the same time, substance-abuse deaths were elevated during the pandemic relative to trend indicating an increase in the number of substance abusers, and abusers of opioids and crystal methamphetamine have lower labor-force participation rates than non-abusers. Could increased substance abuse during the pandemic be a factor contributing to the fall in labor-force participation? Estimates of the number of additional substance abusers during the pandemic presented here suggest that increased substance abuse accounts for between 9 and 26 percent of the decline in primeage labor-force participation between February 2020 and June 2021.

Keywords: COVID-19 Pandemic; Substance Abuse; Labor-Force Participation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 J11 J21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 14 pages
Date: 2022-04-04
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Working Paper: Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation (2022) Downloads
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