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Prohibition vs. Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?

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  • Mark Thornton

Abstract

Economists have been newsworthy critics of the policy of drug prohibition. This paper seeks to determine if these instances of criticism represent a consensus of professional opinion. A random survey of professional economists suggests that the majority supports reform of drug policy in the direction of decriminalization. A survey of professional economists who have published on the subject of drug prohibition and expressed a policy judgment indicates an even greater consensus which is critical of prohibition and supportive of policy reforms in the direction of decriminalization, and to a lesser extent, legalization.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Thornton, 2004. "Prohibition vs. Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(1), pages 82-105, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:1:y:2004:i:1:p:82-105
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul, Chris & Wilhite, Allen W, 1994. "Illegal Markets and the Social Costs of Rent-Seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 105-115, April.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1997. "Getting It Right: Markets and Choices in a Free Society," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522268, January.
    3. Mark Thornton, 1994. "The economics of prohibition," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics, chapter 51 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 1st May 2017
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2017-05-01 16:00:15

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Suryadipta Roy, 2007. "Are Illegal Drugs Inferior Goods in the US?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 35(3), pages 303-314, September.
    2. Lenin Arango Castillo, 2011. "Tráfico de drogas, políticas de disuasión y violencia en México," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 26(2), pages 157-185.
    3. Carlos Casacuberta & Mariana Gerstenblüth & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "Aportes del análisis económico al estudio de las drogas," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0112, Department of Economics - dECON.
    4. Edward M. Shepard & Paul R. Blackely, 2010. "Economics of Crime and Drugs: Prohibition and Public Policies for Illicit Drug Control," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Yunker, James A., 2012. "Estimated optimal drug law enforcement expenditures based on U.S. annual data," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 356-371.
    6. Donici, Andreea Nicoleta/NA & Maha, Andreea/A, 2012. "The Impact of soft drug legalization on Romania," MPRA Paper 36191, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Stern, Charlotta & Klein, Daniel B., 2006. "Is There a Free-Market Economist in the House? The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members," Working Paper Series 6/2006, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    8. Daniel B. Klein & Michael J. Clark, 2006. "A Little More Liberty: What the _JEL_ Omits in Its Account of What the Economic Report of the President Omits," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(3), pages 466-483, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    prohibition; crime; addiction; public policy;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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