Swartz: The economics of baseball’s war on drugs

From SABR member Matt Swartz at FanGraphs on July 30, 2013:

People sometimes ask what initially got me interested in economics. The truth is that one of the first things that caught my attention was an application of supply-and-demand graphs that explained the war on drugs. What seemed like a set of policies with unpredictable effects actually had some very predictable — and undesired — consequences. Applying these concepts to Major League Baseball’s war on performance-enhancing drugs is naturally an article I was destined to write.

I’ll start off by running through the basics of supply and demand for illegal drugs, show the concepts I found so fascinating years ago, and then show you how well they apply to what MLB is trying to do with PEDs and with Biogenesis in particular. I understand that drugs are a somewhat sensitive topic, and I have no interest in preaching any normative points of view.

I will instead trust that readers can think of my commentary as descriptive, and not assume any agenda. I’ll also be peppering in references to The Wire throughout, because I’m definitely never going to get to do it again.

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-economics-of-baseballs-war-on-drugs/

Originally published: July 30, 2013. Last Updated: July 30, 2013.