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

  • Robert T. Burrus, Jr.

    ()

    (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

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    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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    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. David W. Rasmussen & Bruce L. Benson & David L. Sollars, 1993. "Spatial Competition In Illicit Drug Markets: The Consequences Of Increased Drug Law Enforcement," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 23(3), pages 219-236, Winter.
    2. Grossman, Michael & Chaloupka, Frank J., 1998. "The demand for cocaine by young adults: a rational addiction approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 427-474, August.
    3. Jeffrey A. Miron, 1998. "Violence and the U.S. Prohibition of Drugs and Alcohol," Papers 0090, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    7. 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.
    8. 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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