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Innocent Bystanders: Developing Countries and the War on Drugs Paperback – March 24, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0821380345 ISBN-10: 0821380346

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Editorial Reviews


Some years ago, I wrote an op-ed where I concluded ???our drug policy is a mess, seriously in need of a basic reorientation.??? The policy has not improved, but at least Philip Keefer and Norman Loayza have now written an excellent book on the international consequences of alternative drug policies. The worst policy - pursued by the United States and many other rich countries???is lenient on users and tough on suppliers. Since demand typically has low price sensitivity, the main effect of harsh supply-side interventions is to drive up prices and amounts spent and thereby impose costs such as high criminal activity in developing countries. Better outcomes may emerge from harsh punishments on users (as in Singapore and Saudi Arabia). However, these policies are politically infeasible in rich countries (because the demanders are basically nice people). Thus, the plausible alternative to existing policy is complete or partial drug legalization, focused on suppliers, who could be converted into legal, tax-paying enterprises. Fortunately, this book provides a sound conceptual framework and empirical evidence to evaluate these and other policies. --Robert Barr Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, author of Nothing Is Sacred: Economic Ideas for the New Millennium

Source and transit countries, most of them poor, bear much of the cost of the drug-hunger of distant populations, and of the worldwide effort to fight the drug traffic. Innocent Bystanders documents the damage. It???s not a pretty picture. The analysis is solid, the tone is sober, and the case for doing something to protect Mexicans, Colombians, Afghans, and others is overwhelming. --Mark Kleim an Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results

For too long the debate about drug trafficking has been dominated by lawyers, generals, diplomats, law enforcement agents, and ideologues. Innocent Bystanders: Developing Countries and the War on Drugs adds a rigorous and long missing perspective to the debate: that of development economists. Philip Keefer and Norman Loayza have made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the economics of the drug trade and its consequences for poor countries. Hopefully, this book will also help move the politics and the policy making process away from the intellectual stagnation that has plagued them for decades. --Moisés Naím, Editor in Chief, Foreign Policy magazine

About the Author

<DIV>PHILIP KEEFER is a Lead Research Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. Since receiving his PhD in Economics from Washington University at St. Louis, he has worked continuously on the interaction of institutions, political economy and economic development. His research has included investigations of the impact of insecure property rights on economic growth; the effect of political credibility on the policy choices of governments; and the sources of political credibility in democracies and autocracies. It has appeared in journals that span economics and political science, ranging from the Quarterly Journal of Economics to the American Review of Political Science, and has been influenced by his work in a wide range of countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Mxico, Per, Pakistan and the Philippines.<BR> <BR>NORMAN LOAYZA is currently lead economist in the research department of the World Bank. He was born in Arequipa, Peru, and studied high school and general university studies in Lima. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University, in the specialties of economics and sociology. Norman continued his studies at Harvard University, from which he received a Ph.D. degree in economics in 1994. Since then, he has worked at the research group of the World Bank, with an interruption of two years (1999-2000) when he worked as senior economist at the Central Bank of Chile. Norman has taught post-graduate courses and seminars at the University of the Pacific in Lima, the Catholic University of Chile, and the University of Sao Paulo. He has presented seminars and conferences in places as diverse as Nairobi, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, Mexico City, El Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, and Madrid. Throughout his professional life, Norman has studied several areas related to economic and social development, including economic growth, private saving, financial depth, monetary policy, trade openness, poverty alleviation, and crime prevention. As result from this research, he has edited five books and published more than thirty articles in professional journals. <BR></DIV>

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