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The Impact of Weight-Based Penalties on Drug Purity and Consumption: A Theoretical Analysis

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  • Robert T. Burrus, Jr.

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    (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the impact of an increase in law enforcement on the purity of illicit drugs and illicit drug consumption. The impact is explored under the assumption that dealer penalties increase in the weight of drugs sold (as stipulated by current U.S. drug sentencing guidelines) and under the assumption that penalties increase in the effective dose, equal to purity times weight, of drugs sold. The paper finds that an increase in either the certainty of dealer or user punishment, under the assumption of weight-based dealer penalties, may increase the purity and the quantity of drugs consumed. An increase in the certainty of either dealer or user punishment, under effective dose-based penalties, decreases drug purity and the quantity of drugs consumed.

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    File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume32/V32N4P629_646.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 629-646

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    Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:32:y:2006:i:4:p:629-646

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    1. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1999. "Violence and the U.S. Prohibitions of Drug and Alcohol," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 78-114, Fall.
    2. Poret, Sylvaine, 2002. "Paradoxical effects of law enforcement policies: the case of the illicit drug market," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 465-493, December.
    3. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Charles C. Brown, 1999. "The Demand for Cocaine by Young Adults: A Rational Addiction Approach," NBER Working Papers 5713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    5. Friedrich Schneider, 2001. "What Do We Know About the Shadow Economy?," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(4), pages 19-32, October.
    6. Suren Basov & Mireille Jacobson & Jeffrey A. Miron, 2001. "Prohibition and the Market for Illegal Drugs," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(4), pages 133-157, October.
    7. Lee, Li Way, 1993. "Would Harassing Drug Users Work?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 939-59, October.
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