skip to content

Faculty of Economics

Journal Cover

Flamini, A., Jahanshahi, B. and Mohaddes, K.

Illegal Drugs and Public Corruption: Crack Based Evidence from California

European Journal of Political Economy

Vol. 69 no. 102005 pp. 1-14 (2021)

Abstract: Do illegal drugs foster public corruption? To estimate the causal effect of drugs on public corruption, we adopt the synthetic control method and exploit the fact that crack cocaine markets emerged in California in 1981, before reaching any other U.S. state. Our results show that public corruption more than tripled in California in the first three years following the arrival of crack cocaine. We argue that this resulted from the particular characteristics of illegal drugs: cheap technology and rigid demand, which fosters a convergence of interests between criminals and corrupted public officials resulting in a positive causal impact of illegal drugs on corruption.

Keywords: Public corruption, Crack cocaine, Synthetic control, Illegal drugs, Law enforcement, Difference in difference, Organized crime

JEL Codes: C12, D73, K42

Author links: Kamiar Mohaddes  

Publisher's Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2021.102005



Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: Illegal Drugs and Public Corruption: Crack Based Evidence from California, Flamini, A., Jahanshahi, B., Mohaddes, K., (2018)

Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: Covid-19 Fiscal Support and its Effectiveness, Chudik, A., Mohaddes, K. and Raissi, M., (2021)

Papers and Publications



Recent Publications


Bhattacharya, D. and Shvets, J. Inferring Trade-Offs in University Admissions: Evidence from Cambridge Journal of Political Economy, accepted [2023]

Elliott, M., Golub, B. and Leduc, M. V. Supply Network Formation and Fragility American Economic Review [2022]

Ritz, R. Does Competition Increase Pass-Through? Rand Journal of Economics, forthcoming [2023]

Ajzenman, N., Cavalcanti, T. and Da Mata, D More than Words: Leaders' Speech and Risky Behavior During a Pandemic American Economic Journal: Economic Policy [2023]