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Going after the Addiction, Not the Addicted: The Impact of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

Author

Listed:
  • Félix, Sónia

    () (Banco de Portugal)

  • Portugal, Pedro

    () (Banco de Portugal)

  • Tavares, Ana

    () (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of drug decriminalization in Portugal using the Synthetic Control Method. The applied econometric methodology compares Portuguese drug-related variables with the ones extracted from a convex combination of similar European countries. The results suggest that a policy change implemented in Portugal contributed to a decrease in the number of heroine and cocaine seizures, a decrease in the number of offenses and drug-related deaths, and a decrease in the number of clients entering treatment. Moreover, the policy change contributed to a reduction in the incidence of drug addicts among HIV individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Félix, Sónia & Portugal, Pedro & Tavares, Ana, 2017. "Going after the Addiction, Not the Addicted: The Impact of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal," IZA Discussion Papers 10895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10895
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Félix, Sónia & Portugal, Pedro, 2015. "Drug Decriminalization and the Price of Illicit Drugs," IZA Discussion Papers 8848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:5:836-842_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    4. Jan Ours & Stephen Pudney, 2006. "On the Economics of Illicit Drugs," De Economist, Springer, vol. 154(4), pages 483-490, December.
    5. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
    6. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    drug decriminalization policy; illicit drugs; synthetic control method;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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