WMU News

Economist speaks on the side effects of the war on drugs

Oct. 29, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Did Reagan-era policies that led to a nationwide war on drugs end up creating conditions for criminals to "just say yes?"

Arguing that increased emphasis on enforcing tough drug laws can result in higher crime rates, Dr. Bruce L. Benson, professor of economics at Florida State University, will speak on "The Causes and Consequences of a Drug War: An Economic Analysis" at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall.

"We might think that overall crime rates would fall as drug enforcement increased," says Dr. Donald Meyer, professor of economics and coordinator of the visit. "Benson shows us that the opposite is true when looking at the violent and property crime levels, due to criminal justice resources being re-allocated."

Benson also will speak at noon in Room 2302 of Friedman Hall. His topic for that presentation is "Are Roads Public Goods, Club Goods, Private Roads or Common Pools?" Both lectures are free and open to the public.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program at WMU was established in 1960 and has supported more than 500 visits by scholars and artists representing some 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Carol Bennett, instructor in the Department of Business Information Systems.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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