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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. 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, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Mark Thornton, 1994. "The economics of prohibition," Chapters, in: Peter J. Boettke (ed.), 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. Donici, Andreea Nicoleta/NA & Maha, Andreea/A, 2012. "The Impact of soft drug legalization on Romania," MPRA Paper 36191, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Jesse Burkhardt & Chris Goemans, 2019. "The short-run effects of marijuana dispensary openings on local crime," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 63(1), pages 163-189, August.
    3. Daniel B. Klein & Charlotta Stern, 2007. "Is There a Free‐Market Economist in the House? The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 309-334, April.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Edward M. Shepard & Paul R. Blackely, 2010. "Economics of Crime and Drugs: Prohibition and Public Policies for Illicit Drug Control," Chapters, in: Bruce L. Benson & Paul R. Zimmerman (ed.), Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 10, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    prohibition; crime; addiction; public policy;
    All these keywords.

    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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