NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

State Drug Control and Illicit Drug Participation

Henry Saffer, Frank Chaloupka

NBER Working Paper No. 7114
Issued in May 1999
NBER Program(s):   HE

The purpose of this paper is to estimate the effect of state criminal justice expenditures and state public health expenditures on deterring illicit drug use. The empirical model is based on a demand and supply model of drug markets. The effect of a given expenditure on criminal justice or public health programs is dependent on the magnitude of the resulting shifts in the two functions and the demand price elasticity. A reduced form of the demand and supply model is also estimated. The data employed come from the 1990 and 1991 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). Data on state and local spending for drug related criminal justice and drug related public health programs were merged with the NHSDA. The main findings from the regression results are that drug control spending reduces drug use. However, the results suggest for marijuana users, the marginal cost of drug control exceeds the social benefits of drug control. This may not be the case for users of other illicit drugs. Spending for drug enforcement by police and drug treatment are found most effective in deterring drug use. However, spending for correctional facilities is never significant which suggests that a more efficient method of reducing drug use might be to reduce correctional facilities spending and increase spending on treatment.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7114

Published: H Saffer & FJ Chaloupka & D Dave, 2001. "State Drug Control Spending And Illicit Drug Participation," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(2), pages 150-161, 04.

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