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Assessing alternative drug control regimes

Author

Listed:
  • Robert MacCoun

    (Graduate School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California)

  • Peter Reuter

    (School of Public Affairs and Department of Criminology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland)

  • Thomas Schelling

    (School of Public Affairs and Department of Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland)

Abstract

The debate over alternative regimes for currently illicit psychoactive substances focuses on polar alternatives: harsh prohibition and sweeping legalization. This study presents an array of alternatives that lies between these extremes. The current debate lacks an explicit and inclusive framework for making comparative judgments. In this study, we sketch out such a framework, as a reminder of possible policy levers and their costs and benefits that might otherwise be neglected or go unrecognized. The framework identifies a range of pharmacological and economic characteristics of substances, potential harms and their bearers, and the sources of those harms, including drug use, trafficking, law enforcement, and illegal status per se. The framework highlights the difficulty of making objective, rigorous comparisons among regimes, but we believe that it can serve a useful heuristic role in promoting more constructive debate and identifying fruitful questions for research.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert MacCoun & Peter Reuter & Thomas Schelling, 1996. "Assessing alternative drug control regimes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 330-352.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:15:y:1996:i:3:p:330-352 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6688(199622)15:3<330::AID-PAM1>3.0.CO;2-J
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
    2. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 247-272, May.
    3. Benjamin M. Simon, 1998. "Federal Acquisition Of Water Through Voluntary Transactions For Environmental Purposes," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 422-432, October.
    4. Klemperer, Paul, 1998. "Auctions with almost common values: The 'Wallet Game' and its applications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 757-769, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick M. O'Malley & Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2001. "Marijuana and Youth," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 271-326 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • R. L. Pacula & M. Grossman & F. J. Chaloupka & P. M. O'Malley & L. Johnston & M. C. Farrelly, 2000. "Marijuana and Youth," NBER Working Papers 7703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Beckert, Jens & Wehinger, Frank, 2011. "In the shadow illegal markets and economic sociology," MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/9, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    3. Aidan R. Vining & David L. Weimer, 2013. "An assessment of important issues concerning the application of benefit–cost analysis to social policy," Chapters,in: Principles and Standards for Benefit–Cost Analysis, chapter 1, pages 25-62 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. John J. Donohue III & Benjamin Ewing & David Pelopquin, 2010. "Rethinking America's Illegal Drug Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 215-281 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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