The Opium Wars, Opium Legalization, and Opium Consumption in China

16 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2005 Last revised: 13 Jul 2010

See all articles by Jeffrey A. Miron

Jeffrey A. Miron

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Chris Feige

State Street Financial Center

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

The effect of drug prohibition on drug consumption is a critical issue in debates over drug policy. One episode that provides information on the consumption-reducing effect of drug prohibition is the Chinese legalization of opium in 1858. In this paper we examine the impact of China's opium legalization on the quantity and price of British opium exports from India to China during the 19th century. We find little evidence that legalization increased exports or decreased price. Thus, the evidence suggests China's opium prohibition had a minimal impact on opium consumption.

Suggested Citation

Miron, Jeffrey A. and Feige, Chris, The Opium Wars, Opium Legalization, and Opium Consumption in China (May 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11355. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=727135

Jeffrey A. Miron (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Chris Feige

State Street Financial Center

One Lincoln Street
Boston, MA 02111-2900
United States

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