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Crime and the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Author

Listed:
  • Dragone, Davide

    () (University of Bologna)

  • Prarolo, Giovanni

    () (University of Bologna)

  • Vanin, Paolo

    () (University of Bologna)

  • Zanella, Giulio

    () (University of Bologna)

Abstract

We provide first-pass evidence that the legalization of the cannabis market across US states may be inducing a crime drop. Exploiting the recent staggered legalization enacted by the adjacent states of Washington (end of 2012) and Oregon (end of 2014) we find, combining county-level difference-in-differences and spatial regression discontinuity designs, that the legalization of recreational marijuana caused a significant reduction of rapes and thefts on the Washington side of the border in 2013-2014 relative to the Oregon side and relative to the pre-legalization years 2010-2012. We also find evidence that the legalization increased consumption of marijuana and reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary and binge alcohol.

Suggested Citation

  • Dragone, Davide & Prarolo, Giovanni & Vanin, Paolo & Zanella, Giulio, 2017. "Crime and the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana," IZA Discussion Papers 10522, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10522
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DiNardo, John & Lemieux, Thomas, 2001. "Alcohol, marijuana, and American youth: the unintended consequences of government regulation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 991-1010, November.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Elder, Todd, 2010. "Suburban legend: School cutoff dates and the timing of births," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 826-841, October.
    4. 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.
    5. J. Williams & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 2004. "Alcohol and marijuana use among college students: economic complements or substitutes?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 825-843.
    6. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives From Selection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 369-398, April.
    7. repec:wly:hlthec:v:26:y:2017:i:1:p:6-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gavrilova, Evelina & Kamada, Takuma & Zoutman, Floris, 2015. "Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime," Discussion Papers 2015/5, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Zambiasi, Diego & Stillman, Steven, 2018. "The Pot Rush: Is Legalized Marijuana a Positive Local Amenity?," IZA Discussion Papers 11392, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cannabis; recreational marijuana; crime;

    JEL classification:

    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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