Carolina Arteaga, University of Toronto. "A Manufactured Tragedy: The Origins and Deep Ripples of the Opioid Epidemic"

Department seminar. Carolina Arteaga is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto. She will present the paper: "A Manufactured Tragedy: The Origins and Deep Ripples of the Opioid Epidemic" (written with Victoria Barone).

A photograph of Carolina Arteaga

Carolina Arteaga


This paper studies the origins and consequences of the opioid epidemic. Drawing on recently unsealed records from state litigation against Purdue Pharma, we exploit detailed features of the marketing of OxyContin—which initially targeted the cancer pain market—to assess the role of supply-side factors in the origins of the epidemic. We exploit the differential promotion of OxyContin and its competitors across geographies as a source of exogenous variation in the supply of opioids to quantify its effects on opioid mortality, adult wellbeing, and assess its intergenerational impacts. We document a strong link between Purdue Pharma’s promotional targeting and future increases in the supply of prescription opioids and overdose deaths. Also, we estimate the epidemic triggered a significant increase in disability and SNAP claims, ccompanied by worsening infant health and increased non-marital fertility rates.

Link to the paper [PDF].


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Published Apr. 21, 2022 1:07 PM - Last modified May 4, 2022 10:27 AM