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The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy

The IDPP convened the Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy to undertake the most thorough independent economic analysis of the current international drug control strategy ever conducted.

The aim of the Expert Group is to provide the rigourous evidence base for reform of the international drug system that is economically efficient and promotes human security, public health and sustainable development.

The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy have published two influential reports:

Expert Group Chair


Professor Danny Quah is the Li Ka Shing Professor of Economics at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Previously he was Director of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre.


Expert Group Coordinator


Dr. John Collins is Executive Director of the IDPP at LSE IDEAS. His research focuses on the history of international drug control.


Expert Group Members


Tenu Avafia is a policy adviser on law, human rights and treatment access issues in the HIV, Health and Development Group in UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy. His responsibilities include overseeing the implementation of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law Report. He also leads a UNDP programme to increase the access and delivery of new health technologies for neglected tropical diseases in low and middle income countries.


Professor Jonathan Caulkins is the H. Guyford Stever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on modelling the effectiveness of interventions related to drugs, crime, violence, delinquency, and prevention.


Dr Joanne Csete is Senior Program Officer for the Open Society Foundations’ Global Drug Policy Program. Previously she was an Associate Professor of Public Health at Columbia University; the Founding Director of the HIV and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch; Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network; and a senior technical advisor at UNICEF.

Sergio Chaparro Hernández

Sergio Chaparro Hernández is a researcher at Dejusticia, a Colombian human rights organization and think/do tank based in Bogota. An Economist, philosopher and Master in Law at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, he has worked as a professor of labor economics, consultant at the Colombian Center of Historical Memory, the National Union School and the Ombudsman´s Office. Sergio has also worked as a political adviser in the Bogota Council and Congress. 


Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown is a Senior Fellow with the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. She is an expert on international and internal conflicts and non-traditional security threats, including insurgency, organized crime, urban violence, and illicit economies.

Beau Kilmer

Dr Beau Kilmer is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, where he codirects the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. He is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with a special emphasis on substance use, illicit markets, crime, and public policy. 

David Mansfield

Dr David Mansfield is an independent consultant widely regarded as the pre-eminent expert on rural livelihoods and opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. David has  advised a range of bilateral, multilateral and non-government organisations, including the UK Government, the EC, the World Bank, GTZ, as well as various NGOs on both policy and operational issues with regard to illicit drugs.


Dr Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch is the director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy program. A major contributor to the debate about the interplay of drug use and HIV, Malinowska-Sempruch previously headed the Open Society International Harm Reduction Development program, introducing and significantly scaling up access to needle exchange and substitution treatment across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Mark Shaw

Professor Mark Shaw is the director of the Centre of Criminology in the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town (UCT). He also holds the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Chair in Security and Justice. Appointed to the Centre in September 2014, Mark’s aims to strengthen and improve research and innovation in the field of security and justice in South Africa, to build capacities required for research that will enhance explanatory and normative understanding of African security and justice.


Dr Michael Shiner is assistant director of the Mannheim centre for criminology at the London School of Economics, and is a member of StopWatch, which works to ensure fair and accountable stop and search. Prior to this he worked at the Public Policy Research Unit, Goldsmiths College and the Policy Studies Institute. His work has included analyses conducted on behalf of the Independent Committee of Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Bryce Pardo

Bryce Pardo is an analyst at BOTEC. His international work experience and knowledge gives him unique insight into transnational drug trafficking, international drug control, and comparative drug laws. Mr. Pardo served five years as an official at the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) within the Organization of American States (OAS). During this time he contributed to and edited the OAS Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas (2013).

Catalina Pérez Correa

Dr Catalina Pérez Correa González is Professor and Researcher in Legal Studies Division at CIDE (Mexico). She stduied at the Stanford University School of Law in California. She was a researcher at the Institute of Legal Research of UNAM, a professor at the Faculty of Law of the UNAM, and visiting researcher at Georgetown University. Her research interests include law enforcement in Mexico, the operation of the criminal justice system, and drug policy in Latin America. 

Harold Pollack

Professor Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at The University of Chicago. He has published widely at the interface between poverty policy and public health. His recent research concerns HIV and hepatitis prevention efforts for injection drug users, drug abuse and dependence among welfare recipients and pregnant women, infant mortality prevention, and child health. 


Professor Peter Reuter  is a Professor in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland. He is Director of the Program on the Economics of Crime and Justice Policy at the University and also Senior Economist at RAND. He founded and directed RAND's Drug Policy Research Center from 1989-1993.


Olga Rychkova is a program officer for the International Harm Reduction Development Program, focusing on access to health and to justice for women marginalized for their drug use. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations in June, 2009, Rychkova worked at Mainline, a harm reduction advocacy group in Amsterdam that works to protect health and rights of people who use drugs, and promote better public health policies for marginalized people.


Javier Sagredo is Regional Democratic Governance and Citizen Security Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Before working for UNDP, he was Senior Advisor, Section Chief and Coordinator of projects in the Organization of American States (OAS) in areas like social inclusion, institutional development and public policy on drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Rebecca Schleifer is a globally respected advocate, researcher and scholar working in the field of health and human rights. Her expertise encompasses human rights aspects of drug control policies, disability, and HIV and AIDS, with particular attention to girls and women, sex workers, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender men and women, people who use drugs, and other marginalized high risk groups.


Dr Francisco E. Thoumi is a member of the International Narcotics Control Board. His is a senior member of the Colombian Academy of Economic Sciences and Corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (Spain). Has been a Professor at the University of Texas, Rosario University (Bogota) and California State University, Chico, and worked for 15 years in the research departments of the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank.


Dr Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes is a founder and Director of Dejusticia (Colombia), member of CEDD, and Professor of Constitutional Law, Human Rights and Theory of the State at the Universidad Nacional (Bogota). He is the author of numerous articles on human rights, constitutional law, tensions between law and economics, drug trafficking, and the court system.


The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy produced two influential reports. Read them here.

International Drug Policy Project
Policy Workshop