The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition

  title={The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition},
  author={Jeffrey A. Miron and Jeffrey Zwiebel},
  journal={Journal of Economic Perspectives},
This paper discusses the costs and benefits of drug prohibition. It offers a detailed outline of the economic consequences of drug prohibition and a systematic analysis of the relevant empirical evidence. The bottom line is that a relatively free market in drugs is likely to be vastly superior to the current policy of prohibition. 

Prohibition and the Market for Illegal Drugs

Over the past 25 years in the United States, enforcement of drug prohibition has expanded dramatically. Over the same period, however, the trends in drug production and consumption have been

The cultural and political economy of drug prohibition

This edited volume, a collection of both theoretical essays and empirical studies, presents an Austrian economics perspective on the role of culture in economic action. The authors illustrate that

Prohibition vs. Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?

Economists have been newsworthy critics of the policy of drug prohibition. This paper seeks to determine if these instances of criticism represent a consensus of professional opinion. A random survey

An Economic Perspective on the Legalisation Debate: The Dutch Case

This paper reviews how economic modelling provides a deeper understanding of drug markets. The exercise focuses on ‘soft drugs’ (cannabinoids) in the Netherlands and outlines the effects of

The Development Impact of the Illegality of Drug Trade

This paper reviews the unintended consequences of the war on drugs, particularly for developing countries, and weighs them against the evidence regarding the efficacy of prohibition to curb drug use

On the Effects of Drug Policy

This paper presents a simple analytical model of the market for hard drugs. The key assumptions are (i) a distinction between new users and existing addicts, (ii) imperfect competition, (iii)

Legalize Drugs Now!: An Analysis of the Benefits of Legalized Drugs

The legalization of drugs would prevent our civil liberties from being threatened any further: it would reduce crime rates, reverse the potency effect, improve the quality of life in the inner

Dynamics of Intervention in the War on Drugs: The Build-Up to the Harrison Act of 1914

The economics literature cites the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 as the start of the War on Drugs. With few exceptions, the literature fails to explain the dynamic nature of interventionism.

The Context of Drug Policy: An Economic Interpretation

It is concluded that understanding drug policy requires an examination of the incentives and constraints that affect the behavior of those who are responsible for policy development, and two specific incentives for an emphasis on enforcement are presented.



Britain's "substance abuse policy": realities and regulation in the United Kingdom.

  • D. Howitt
  • Political Science
    The International journal of the addictions
  • 1990
The historical development of policy concerning drugs in Great Britain is described and it is noted that the policy is substantially punitive and that large numbers of people are dealt with by the courts for drug offenses.

To build a bridge: the use of foreign models by domestic critics of U.S. drug policy.

Policies developed elsewhere, specifically heroin maintenance in Britain and harm reduction in Holland, have profoundly affected debate over the American approach to addiction.

Drug legalization : for and against

Should drugs be legalized? This question is now more hotly and more frequently aired than ever before. Since the US government's war on drugs began, nearly 80 years ago, there were generally only

Is property crime caused by drug use or by drug enforcement policy

The relationships among drug offenses, prorperty crime, and the allocation of police resources are investigated in a structural model using data from Florida countries. Law enforcement resources are

Deliver Us from Evil: An Interpretation of American Prohibition

It shows the profound impact of the prohibition movement on political history before 1916 and analyzes its ambiguous triumph in the 1920s. In doing so, it reveals the relationship between liquor

Relationship Between Illicit Drug Enforcement Policy And Property Crimes

Some justify the law enforcement emphasis on controlling illicit drug markets by contending that drug users attempting to finance their habits often are responsible for property crime. Yet, in

Waging a War on Drug Users: An Alternative Public Health Vision

  • L. Gostin
  • Medicine, Political Science
    Law, medicine & health care : a publication of the American Society of Law & Medicine
  • 1990
This article returns to a war waged for the better part of this century-between the theories of punishment and rehabilitation in impeding the drug epidemic, and powerful new reasons and new data support an alternative vision of a national war on drugs.

Drug-Control Policies in Britain

The British approach to heroin addiction has been widely misunderstood. The "British system" did not break down in the 1960s under the pressure of an upsurge in heroin misuse. The 1960s heroin

Finland's Prohibition Experiment

result from the prevailing unrestricted use of intoxicants. Already this early phase of the Finnish temperance movement was, interestingly enough, markedly influenced by the contemporary temperance