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Review of Law & Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Parisi, Francesco

Ed. by Cooter, Robert D. / Gómez Pomar, Fernando / Kornhauser, Lewis A. / Parchomovsky, Gideon / Engel, Christoph


SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.196
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.401
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.244

99,00 € / $149.00 / £75.00*

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ISSN
1555-5879
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Do Citizens Know Whether Their State Has Decriminalized Marijuana? Assessing the Perceptual Component of Deterrence Theory

Robert MacCoun1 / Rosalie Liccardo Pacula2 / Jamie Chriqui3 / Katherine Harris4 / Peter Reuter5

1University of California at Berkeley

2RAND Corporation and NBER

3University of Illinois at Chicago

4RAND Corporation

5University of Maryland - College Park and RAND

Citation Information: Review of Law & Economics. Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 347–371, ISSN (Online) 1555-5879, DOI: 10.2202/1555-5879.1227, June 2009

Publication History

Published Online:
2009-06-17

Deterrence theory proposes that legal compliance is influenced by the anticipated risk of legal sanctions. This implies that changes in law will produce corresponding changes in behavior, but the marijuana decriminalization literature finds only fragmentary support for this prediction. But few studies have directly assessed the accuracy of citizens’ perceptions of legal sanctions. The heterogeneity in state statutory penalties for marijuana possession across the United States provides an opportunity to examine this issue. Using national survey data, we find that the percentages who believe they could be jailed for marijuana possession are quite similar in both states that have removed those penalties and those that have not. Our results help to clarify why statistical studies have found inconsistent support for an effect of decriminalization on marijuana possession.

Citing Articles

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[1]
Robert Apel
Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 2013, Volume 29, Number 1, Page 67
[2]
Daniel S. Nagin
Annual Review of Economics, 2013, Volume 5, Number 1, Page 83
[3]
Hannah Laqueur
Law & Social Inquiry, 2015, Page n/a
[5]
Yu-Wei Luke Chu
Journal of Health Economics, 2014, Volume 38, Page 43
[6]
Robert J. MacCoun and Peter Reuter
Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2011, Volume 7, Number 1, Page 61
[7]
Caitlin E. Hughes, Alison Ritter, Nicholas Cowdery, and Natasha Sindicich
Drug and Alcohol Review, 2014, Volume 33, Number 6, Page 658
[8]
Robert J. MacCoun
Addiction, 2014, Volume 109, Number 8, Page 1234
[9]
Marian Shanahan, Karen Gerard, and Alison Ritter
International Journal of Drug Policy, 2014, Volume 25, Number 4, Page 682
[10]
Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and Eric L. Sevigny
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2014, Volume 33, Number 1, Page 212

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