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Violent crime: a function of drug use or drug enforcement?


  • Andrew Resignato


An assumption of many national drug control policies is the existence of a causal relationship between illegal drug use and violent crime. However, robust empirical findings supporting this relationship are scarce. Alternatively, there is extensive research, much of it in economics, which suggests that there may actually be a stronger causal relationship between drug enforcement/control/prohibition and violent crime than drug use and criminal violence. The paper presents some of the research pertaining to the relationship between illegal drugs and violent crime. In addition, a violent crime model is empirically tested using data from 24 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States to determine the nature and strength of this relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Resignato, 2000. "Violent crime: a function of drug use or drug enforcement?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(6), pages 681-688.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:32:y:2000:i:6:p:681-688
    DOI: 10.1080/000368400322291

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Adda & Brendon McConnell & Imran Rasul, 2014. "Crime and the Depenalization of Cannabis Possession: Evidence from a Policing Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(5), pages 1130-1202.
    2. Markowitz, Sara, 2005. "Alcohol, Drugs and Violent Crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 20-44, March.
    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. Adda, Jérôme & McConnell, Brendon & Rasul, Imran, 2014. "Crime and the depenalization of cannabis possession: evidence," Economics Working Papers ECO2014/05, European University Institute.
    5. 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.
    6. Poret, Sylvaine, 2009. "An optimal anti-drug law enforcement policy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 221-228, September.
    7. repec:kap:iaecre:v:11:y:2005:i:4:p:399-415 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Paresh Kumar Narayan & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2010. "Is There a Natural Rate of Crime?," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 759-782, April.
    9. Flores, Daniel, 2016. "Violence and law enforcement in markets for illegal goods," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 77-87.
    10. Rosa Duarte & José Escario & José Molina, 2005. "Participation and Consumption of Illegal Drugs among Adolescents," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 11(4), pages 399-415, November.
    11. 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.
    12. Brinkman, Jeffrey & Mok-Lamme, David, 2017. "Not in My Backyard? Not So Fast. The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Neighborhood Crime," Working Papers 17-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    13. Alexander F. McQuoid & J. Britton Haynes Jr., 2017. "The Thin (Red) Blue Line: Police Militarization and Violent Crime," Departmental Working Papers 56, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    14. Gerald Kennally, 2001. "Regulating the Trade in Recreational Drugs," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 69-82, January.

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