State-level political party effects on the war on drugs.
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Riches, Elliott C., 1996-
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The United States' drug arrest rate and incarceration rates have been increasing steadily for over two decades. Additionally, there is a general perception that Republicans are "tougher on crime" than Democrats. This thesis sets out to examine whether there is, in fact, a political aspect to the war on drugs. Using an RD design with close elections, this paper examines differences in drug arrest rates, incarceration rates, and price and purity of certain drugs based on the party of the state's governor. Although public perception and anecdotal evidence may suggest that an effect does exist, this paper's results do not support that anecdotal evidence. Instead I find no significant difference between governors of different parties in regards to the the various outcomes of interest.