NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Drug Use and AFDC Participation: Is There a Connection?

Robert Kaestner

NBER Working Paper No. 5555
Issued in April 1996
NBER Program(s):   HE

Drug use and welfare are two serious social problems that have received widespread public attention. Recently, it has been suggested that illicit drug use is a major cause of welfare, although there is only anecdotal evidence to support such a claim. This paper provides the first systematic analysis of the issue by examining the relationship between illicit drug use and welfare participation among a nationally representative sample of young adults. The results indicate that past year drug use, predominantly marijuana use, is positively related to future welfare participation for both non-black and black women. The magnitude of the drug effect, however, is modest: if drug use among welfare participants was reduced to the levels of non-participants, welfare participation would decline by approximately one percent.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5555

Published: Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 17, no. 3 (Summer 1998): 495-520

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