Marijuana and Youth . Paucla RL, Grossm M, Chaloupka FJ, O’Malley PM, Johnston LD, Farrelly MC. Risky Behavior Among Youth (edited by J Gruber), pp. 271-326 (2001).
This paper contains
the first estimates of the price sensitivity of the prevalence of youth
marijuana use. Survey data on marijuana use by high school seniors from
the Monitoring the Future Project are combined with data on marijuana
prices and potency from the Drug Enforcement Administration Office of
Intelligence or Intelligence Division. Our estimates of the price elasticity
of annual marijuana participation range from -0.06 to -0.47, while those
for thirty day participation from -0.002 to -0.69. These estimates clearly
imply that changes in the real, quality adjusted price of marijuana contributed
significantly to the trends in youth marijuana use between 1982 and 1998,
particularly during the contraction in use from 1982 to 1992. Similarly,
changes in youth perceptions of the harms associated with regular marijuana
use had a substantial impact on both the contraction in use during the
1982 through 1992 period and the subsequent expansion in use after 1992.
These findings underscore the usefulness of considering price in addition
to more traditional determinants in any analysis of marijuana consumption
decisions made by youths.
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