Do Economists Favor Drug Legalization?

In our usually dormant comments section, Dr. T has questioned whether economists really overwhelmingly favor drug legalization, a claim made in a recent NPR segment.  To address this concern, I consulted the Econ Journal Watchand its on-point article from Mark Thorton “Prohibition vs. Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?

From the abstract:

A random survey of professional economists suggests that the majority supports reform of drug policy in the direction of decriminalization. A survey of professional economists who have published on the subject of drug prohibition and expressed a policy judgment indicates an even greater consensus which is critical of prohibition and supportive of policy reforms in the direction of decriminalization, and to a lesser extent, legalization.

Thorton concludes that there is in fact no consensus, and after taking a look at his summary statistics, I’d have to agree. That said, it does appear that there is solid support for some form of liberalization.

You can check the article to see some snippets from “vital” economists such as Robert Barro, Gary Becker, David Henderson, Jeffery Miron, and William Niskanen.

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