Miller Center

Beth Freeborn

Economics, University of Virginia

Drug Laws and the Market for Cocaine

Freeborn photo

Beth Freeborn is an Economist at the Bureau of Economics at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Freeborn was previously Assistant Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg where she taught courses on Microeconomics and Industrial Organization. Her research focuses on industrial organization, applied microeconomics, economics of crime and econometrics.

Freeborn's dissertation was an economic study of the market for powder and crack cocaine using data collected from the Drug Enforcement Agency from 1984 to 2001. She examined how drug dealers make decisions regarding what type of cocaine package to produce. The benefit to dealers is the total revenue they receive from the packages they sell, and the cost to dealers is both the monetary cost of purchasing the wholesale cocaine and the legal penalty if they are caught selling cocaine. These legal penalties vary greatly by state, providing different incentives to dealers based on geographical location. This project created and estimated a model of the market for cocaine. This model can then be utilized to analyze a number of different public policy questions.

Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Peter Reuter, University of Maryland

Selected Recent Publications

"Determinants of Tacit Collusion in a Cournot Duopoly Experiment." with Lisa R. Anderson and Jason P. Hulbert, Southern Economic Journal 81, no. 3 (January 2015): 633-652.

"Report to Congress Under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003." with Julie Miller, Federal Trade Commission (2015)

"Accuracy of Information Maintained by U.S. Credit-Bureaus: Frequency of Errors and Effects on Consumers' Credit Scores." with L. Douglas Smith et al.  Journal of Consumer Affairs 47, no. 3 (2013): 588-601.

"Competition and Crowding-Out in the Market for Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment." with Andrew Cohen and Brian McManus, International Economic Review 54, no. 1 (2013): 159-184.

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