Grossman, Michael, Jan C. Van Ours, and Jenny Williams. “Why Do Some People Want to Legalize Cannabis Use?” SSRN eLibrary  (2011). Print.

Preferences and attitudes to illicit drug policy held by individuals are likely to be an important influence in the development of illicit drug policy. Amongst the key factors impacting on an individual’s preferences over substance use policy are their beliefs about the costs and benefits of drug use, their own drug use history, and the extent of drug use amongst their peers. We use data from the Australian National Drug Strategy’s Household Surveys to study these preferences. We find that current use and past use of cannabis are a major determinants of being in favor of legalization. We also find that cannabis users are more in favor of legalization the longer they have used cannabis and, among past users, the more recent their own drug using experience. This may be reflecting the fact that experience with cannabis provides information about the costs and benefits of using this substance. We also find some evidence that peers use of cannabis impacts on preferences towards legalization.

Bachman, Jerald G., et al. “Explaining the Recent Decline in Marijuana Use: Differentiating the Effects of Perceived Risks, Disapproval, and General Lifestyle Factors.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 29.1 (1988): 92-112. Print.

Marijuana use among high school seniors has been declining since 1979. This paper explores two alternative explanations of this trend: that young people have become more conservative in general, or that specific changes in views about marijuana have led to the decline in its use. We report bivariate and multivariate analyses of questionnaire data from annual nationwide surveys of high school seniors, 1976 through 1986. Lifestyle factors such as religious commitment, truancy, and evenings away from home are linked strongly to individual differences in marijuana use: these factors, however, have not trended in ways that can account for much of the recent decline in marijuana use. On the other hand, the analyses suggest that if perceived risks and disapproval associated with regular marijuana use had not risen substantially in recent years, the decline in actual use would not have occurred. The implications for drug use prevention efforts are discussed


Bertocchi, G. and A. Dimico (2010). “Slavery, Education, and Inequality.” SSRN eLibrary.

We investigate the impact of slavery on the current performances of the US economy. Over a cross section of counties, we find that the legacy of slavery does not affect current income per capita, but does affect current income inequality. In other words, those counties that displayed a higher proportion of slaves are currently not poorer, but more unequal. Moreover, we find that the impact of slavery on current income inequality is determined by racial inequality. We test three alternative channels of transmission between slavery and inequality: a land inequality theory, a racial discrimination theory and a human capital theory. We find support for the third theory, i.e., even after controlling for potential endogeneity, current inequality is primarily influenced by slavery through the unequal educational attainment of blacks and whites. To improve our understanding of the dynamics of racial inequality along the educational dimension, we complete our investigation by analyzing a panel dataset covering the 1940-2000 period at the state level. Consistently with our previous findings, we find that the educational racial gap significantly depends on the initial gap, which was indeed larger in the former slave states.