The Effect of Cocaine Prices on Crime
The relationship between cocaine prices and crime has critical implications for U.S. drug policy, but is theoretically indeterminate because cocaine price changes affect crime through changes in both cocaine consumption and expenditures. This paper investigates this relationship in annual data from 1981-95 on 29 large U.S. cities, accounting for simultaneity by using two-stage least squares with measures of wholesale supply factors and retail enforcement intensity as instruments for cocaine prices. Controlling for prices of other drugs, deterrence, socioeconomic factors, and city and year-specific effects, a strong negative relationship exists between cocaine prices and six of seven FBI index crimes. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.
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