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A Search-Theoretic Model of the Retail Market for Illicit Drugs

  • Manolis Galenianos
  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
  • Nicola Persico

A search-theoretic model of the retail market for illegal drugs is developed. Trade occurs in bilateral, potentially long-lived matches between sellers and buyers. Buyers incur search costs when experimenting with a new seller. Moral hazard is present because buyers learn purity only after a trade is made. The model produces testable implications regarding the distribution of purity offered in equilibrium, and the duration of the relationships between buyers and sellers. These predictions are consistent with available data. The effectiveness of different enforcement strategies is evaluated, including some novel ones which leverage the moral hazard present in the market.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14980.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14980.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as Manolis Galenianos & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Nicola Persico, 2012. "A Search-Theoretic Model of the Retail Market for Illicit Drugs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1239-1269.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14980
Note: LE
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  1. Williamson, S. & Wright, R., 1991. "Barter and Monetary Exchange Under Private Information," University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations Working Papers 9107, University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations.
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  9. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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  11. Trejos, Alberto, 1999. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices under Private Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 679-95, August.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
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  14. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Michael Grossman, 2006. "The Market for Illegal Goods: The Case of Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 38-60, February.
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