The Demand for Illicit Drugs
AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to estimate the effects of heroin prices, cocaine prices and marijuana decriminalization on the demand for these three drugs, respectively. There are few prior empirical studies in this area because data have been difficult to acquire. This paper makes use of newly available data on drug prices and is the first to link these data to a sample of 49,802 individuals from the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse. The new drug price data comes from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The results provide empirical evidence that drug use is more price responsive than has been previously thought. The results show that the participation price elasticity for heroin is about -.90 to -.80 and that the participation price elasticity for cocaine is about - .55 to -.36. Marijuana decriminalization was also found to increase the probability of marijuana participation by about 4 to 6 percent. The price elasticity for heroin is estimated at about -1.80 to -1.60 and for cocaine at about -1.10 to -.72. It is estimated that legalization would lead to about a 100 percent increase in the quantity of heroin consumed and about a 50 percent increase in the quantity of cocaine consumed.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5238.
Date of creation: Aug 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Economic Inquiry, Vol. 37, no. 3 (July 1999): pp. 401-411.
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Other versions of this item:
- Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-11, July.
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- Nisbet, Charles T & Vakil, Firouz, 1972. "Some Estimates of Price and Expenditure Elasticities of Demand for Marijuana Among U.C.L.A. Students," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(4), pages 473-75, November.
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