Friday, March 30, 2018

Opioids and Jobs

There’s this thing called the NBER. It’s short for National Bureau of Economic Research. A lot of economists who are from top schools are members (no one from SUU).

A lot of good research is made available first through the NBER, months or years before it appears in a journal.

BUT … the NBER puts those working papers behind a paywall.

So I have not read the new paper entitled “U.S. Employment and Opioids: Is there a Connection?” But I’ve read the abstract.

Causality could go both ways here. Opioids could change peoples’ employment. Alternatively, their employment situation could cause how many opioids they take.

Do note that the data is restricted to only prescriptions for opioids. Of course, a lot of abuse stems from prescriptions rather than underground markets, so this might not be a big deal.

Here’s the results:

  • Opioid use makes it more likely for a woman to work. Neutral for men.
  • The local job situation is unrelated to local prescription opioid abuse.

I would love to get my hands on this paper, just because Utah’s economy is strong, but our opioid problems are so heavily skewed towards prescriptions rather than drug dealers.

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