"And I do have a paper with Roland Fryer and a former student of mine, Paul Heaton, and Kevin Murphy. And we set out to look at the crack epidemic and the costs of the crack epidemic from a purely practical perspective. How bad was it? Do the places that had a lot of crack, did really bad things happen there, and why? And it was really interesting; it was really one of the most surprising results. Because almost all of the big costs that we saw had to do not with the consumption of crack itself. Consumption of crack had some negative effects, but they weren't great. The really big social costs had to do with the prohibition of the legality of crack. And so it was the case that the greatest costs we saw were the violence related to the fighting for property rights, and the imprisonment of people. And it was interesting because it doesn't say that legalization is necessarily a good thing. That’s a big jump to have. But it says that in a regime where drugs are highly illegal, hard drugs like cocaine, in the U.S., the real costs that we feel then are the costs of the prohibition, not the costs of the use, because the prohibition is reasonably effective at lowering the use."
Thursday, 9 January 2014
Quotation of the Day
From Steve Levitt in the latest Freakonomics Podcast, titled Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions (emphasis added):