The media in the United States are lately replete with news about the so-called "opioid crisis" and the terrible increase in the overdose mortality rate
that the country is suffering (see here , here and here ). American economists have begun to study its consequences, for example, in the labor market ( here a summary of a work by Krueger) and to
look for possible explanations, from the formation of the doctors themselves (Schnell and Currie), to the involvement of Medicaid in the problem, passing, of course, by macroeconomic
Today I want to talk to you about one of my works together with Natalia N. Ferreira-Batista, recently accepted for publication ( here ) and that is
related. Although we did not study a problem as serious as the loss of human lives, we investigated the possible relationship between unemployment and drug use during the recent economic crisis
in Europe. For the analysis we have harmonized data over time of four Eurobarometers ('Young people and drugs') that contain not only information about the consumption of some narcotic substances
but also about attitudes towards drugs. The sample includes 28 countries and is representative of the age group between 17 and 24 years old. Visit The Buyers Trend for latest Amazon Education and Business related product reviews & buyers guide.
Our results are derived from logit regressions with fixed effects by country (or region) and year and where our main explanatory variable is the total or
juvenile unemployment rate that we obtain from Eurostat. In this way, we exploit the variability of unemployment rates over time resulting from the different impact of the crisis in the countries
and regions of Europe. It is true that the use of the unemployment rate (especially the youth rate) could introduce a certain degree of endogeneity if the supply of labor is affected by drug
consumption but we believe that the effect should be small in the sample analyzed.
We found? First, it confirms a positive relationship between increases in the unemployment rate and increases in the consumption of cannabis and "new
substances". Thus, an increase of 1% of the unemployment rate at the regional level is associated with an increase of 0.7 percentage points in the probability that young people say they have used
cannabis. The same figure for "new substances" is 0.5 (according to the survey it's about herbs, pills, magic mushrooms ... but, please, do not ask me for details, "no field work!"). The marginal
effects are smaller when we use the youth unemployment rate instead of the unemployment rate relative to the population as a whole. Even so, they are not insignificant changes if we think, for
example, of the increase in unemployment during the crisis in Spain.
Secondly, we analyze whether changes in macroeconomic conditions are related to changes in the perception that young people have of the difficulty (or
ease) of accessing certain substances. In this case, we find that increases in the unemployment rate are related to a greater number of young people who say that obtaining ecstasy, cocaine or
heroin is more difficult. But, when we focus the analysis among young people who say they consume, the results change and, the more unemployment, the easier access is perceived. Unfortunately,
the lack of data has not allowed us to go further and study the consequences of the crisis in the black market and, much less, in the new crypto-markets.
Third, we studied whether changes in the possibilities of finding a job could be related to changes in the perception that young people have of the
health risks associated with drug use. And here we do not find any relation with the economic cycle except for ecstasy: increases in the unemployment rate are associated with a greater number of
young people who believe that consuming this drug is not harmful to health. These results fit with the European Drugs Report of 2016, according to which ecstasy is (again) gaining
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