A Bet I Forgot to Make
By Bryan Caplan
Just one election cycle ago, Tyler embraced a conclusion I found implausible on the basis of a model I found absurd:
When it comes to marijuana legalization,
I believe that the “anti-” forces will muster as many parental votes as
they need to, to defeat it when they need to. The elasticity of supply
is nearly infinite at relevant margins. Legalization may appear
“close” for a long time, but in equilibrium it will not spread very
far. The “no” votes will pop up as needed.
Why absurd? Because voter turnout isn’t very flexible in general, probably isn’t very flexible with respect to one marginal issue, and almost certainly falls far short of “nearly infinite” elasticity. I strongly prefer the common-sense view that when legalization appears close, it is close.
I’m hardly surprised, then, to see that a scant two years after Tyler’s post, Colorado and Washington have seemingly already proven him wrong. A mere fluke? I’m happy to bet at even odds that by 2024, at least five U.S. states will have legal recreational marijuana.