Journal article

Early illicit drug use and the age of onset of homelessness

D McVicar, J Moschion, JC van Ours

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) | Wiley | Published : 2019


We investigate the effect of taking up daily use of cannabis on the onset of homelessness by using Australian data. We use a bivariate simultaneous mixed proportional hazard model to address potential biases due to common unobservable factors and reverse causality. We find that taking up daily use of cannabis substantially increases the probability of transitioning into homelessness for young men but not young women. In contrast, the onset of homelessness increases the probability of taking up daily use of cannabis for young women but not for young men. In a trivariate extension we find that the use of other illicit drugs at least weekly has no additional effect on transitions into homelessn..

View full abstract


Funding Acknowledgements

This paper uses unit record data from 'Journeys home: longitudinal study of factors affecting housing stability'. The study was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. The Department of Employment has provided information for use in JH and it is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (the Melbourne Institute). The findings and views that are reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Department of Social Services, the Department of Employment or the Melbourne Institute. The authors also thank Alexandra de Gendre, Rafael Lalive, Dan O'Flaherty, David Ribar, Dominique Meurs and participants at the microeconomics workshop at the University of Lausanne, at the economics seminar of the University Paris Dauphine, at the workshop on 'Poverty, fundamental needs and public policy' at the University of Nanterre, at the European Society for Population Economics (2015) and at the Irish Economic Association annual conference 2016 for useful comments on earlier drafts.