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

Matthew Harris (), Lawrence Kessler, Matthew Murray and Beth Glenn

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

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 identofication 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: I12; J21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 J21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
Date: 2017-10-07, Revised 2018-03-28
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