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The war against drug producers


  • Herschel Grossman
  • Daniel Mejía



This paper develops a model of a war against the producers of illegal hard drugs. This war occurs on two fronts. First, to prevent the cultivation of crops that are the raw material for producing drugs the state engages the drug producers in conflict over the control of arable land. Second, to impede further the production and exportation of drugs the state attempts to eradicate crops and to interdict drug shipments. The model also includes an interested outsider who uses both a stick and a carrot to strengthen the resolve of the state in its war against drug producers. The results of the calibration of the model yield an estimate that from 2001 through 2003 subsidies from the United States to the Colombian armed forces under Plan Colombia caused a decrease in the exportation of drugs from Colombia to about 44 percent of what exportation was before Plan Colombia was implemented. The results of the calibration of the model also suggests that a more efficient allocation of the about $2 billion that the United States spent on Plan Colombia through 2003 would have involved larger subsidies to the conflict over control of arable land and smaller subsidies to eradication and interdiction efforts.
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Suggested Citation

  • Herschel Grossman & Daniel Mejía, 2008. "The war against drug producers," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 5-23, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:9:y:2008:i:1:p:5-23 DOI: 10.1007/s10101-007-0036-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Naranjo, Alberto, 2004. "Drug Lords, Rebel Movements and Anti-Drug policies in Source Contries," Research Papers in Economics 2004:14, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    2. Juan Carlos Echeverry, 2004. "Colombia And The War On Drugs, How Short Is The Short Run?," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002133, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Adriana D. Kugler, 2008. "Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 191-215, May.
    2. Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo, 2008. "The War on Illegal Drug Production and Trafficking: An Economic Evaluation of Plan Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 005123, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. Leonardo Raffo López & José Luis Segura, 2015. "Las redes del narcotráfico y sus interacciones: un modelo teórico," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 17(32), pages 183-212, January-J.
    4. Mejia, Daniel & Restrepo, Pascual, 2016. "The economics of the war on illegal drug production and trafficking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 255-275.
    5. Estrada G., Fernando, 2011. "The logic of the violence in the civil war: The armed conflict in Colombia," PERFIL DE COYUNTURA ECONÓMICA, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE, June.
    6. Jo Thori Lind & Karl Ove Moene & Fredik Willumsen, 2014. "Opium for the Masses? Conflict-Induced Narcotics Production in Afghanistan," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 949-966, December.
    7. Estrada, Fernando, 2011. "Heuristic Schelling: economy of organized crime," MPRA Paper 31306, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Daniel Mejía, 2008. "The War on Illegal Drugs in Producer and Consumer Countries: A Simple Analytical Framework," CESifo Working Paper Series 2459, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Zuleta Hernando, 2008. "Poor People and Risky Business," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, April.
    10. Adriana Camacho & Alejandro Gaviria & Catherine Rodríguez, 2016. "Drug Consumption in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015238, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    11. Adriana Camacho & Alejandro Gaviria & Catherine Rodríguez, 2010. "El consumo de droga en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 007607, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    12. Marcela Ibanez, 2013. "Is the war on drugs working? Examining the Colombian case using micro data," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 148, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    13. Arias-R., Omar Fdo. & Aza-Jacome, Alfonso, 2014. "From monopsonistic insurgent groups to oligopolistic cocaine traffickers: the market of cocaine in Colombia," MPRA Paper 60000, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Hard drugs; Conflict; Eradication; Interdiction; Plan Colombia; D74; K42;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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