Keep Off the Grass: The Economics of Prohibition and U.S. Drug Policy

29 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2015  

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abigail R. Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

In 1906, the United States instituted its first drug laws. Over time, drug prohibition and criminalization have continued, becoming what is known today as the "War on Drugs." This Article examines the political economy of the War on Drugs with particular emphasis on the unintended consequences of drug prohibition. This Article analyzes the effects of prohibition on violence, drug potency, and cartelization in the drug market. In addition, it examines how the drug policies of the U.S. government have led to a progressive militarization of domestic police forces, fostered an erosion of civil liberties, and contributed to the weakening of private property. The article concludes that drug prohibition works against many of the stated goals of its advocates and offers an alternative to present drug policy.

Keywords: War on Drugs; police militarization

JEL Classification: H11; K42

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Coyne, Christopher J. and Hall, Abigail R., Keep Off the Grass: The Economics of Prohibition and U.S. Drug Policy (2013). Oregon Law Review, 2013, Vol. 91, No. 4, pp. 1069-1096. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2699945

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Abigail R. Hall

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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