Double Defaults: Behavioral Regulation of Cocaine

9 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016  

James A. Leitzel

University of Chicago

Date Written: February 24, 2016


Public policy towards some potentially addictive drugs such as cocaine and opium is highly coercive and punitive, even though the direct harms associated with these drugs generally fall upon the users themselves. Behavioral research has identified non-coercive methods to guide decision making, including the judicious selection of default settings. This brief paper suggests replacing drug prohibition with a regulated system that involves two levels of defaults for adult drug consumers. The defaults are designed to guide people towards abstinence, or, for the non-abstinent, into moderate drug consumption.

Keywords: drugs, cocaine, prohibition, defaults, licenses, waiting periods

JEL Classification: I18, K49, L50

Suggested Citation

Leitzel, James A., Double Defaults: Behavioral Regulation of Cocaine (February 24, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

James A. Leitzel (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-8555 (Phone)

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