Friday, November 4th, 2022

Department of Economics

Faculty Research Presentation

Presenter: Abby E. Alpert - Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Title: "Opioid Use and Employment Outcomes: Evidence from the U.S. Military"

Time: 3:10 - 4:30PM EST

Location: RBC 271


Abstract: There is significant interest in understanding the labor market consequences of the opioid epidemic, but little is known about how opioid use impacts on-the-job performance. We analyze the impact of opioid initiation in the emergency department (ED) on workforce outcomes in the Military using linked medical and administrative personnel data for active duty service members. Exploiting quasi-random assignment of patients to physicians in the ED, we find that assignment to a high-intensity opioid prescribing physician increases the probability of long-term opioid use and leads to subsequent negative effects on work capacity, job performance, and productivity. We also analyze the mechanisms underlying these negative workforce outcomes. While opioid use does not negatively affect measures of physical job performance, we find large increases in behavioral problems which lead to disciplinary actions and job separation.

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