Drug control policy and smuggling innovation: A game-theoretic analysis

Christopher P. Krebs, Michael Costelloe, David Jenks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Noncooperative game theory has been proposed as a research tool to be used in the study of criminal decision-making processes. Despite this offering, game theory has enjoyed very little attention from criminologists. In this study, game theory is applied to a specific crime, drug smuggling, in order to determine if fluctuations in key policy variables have the potential to diminish the expected utility of smuggling drugs, thus encouraging lawful behavior. The simulation proposed herein indicates that decreasing the expected utility of smuggling drugs to a level where lawful behavior is likely to be chosen is an infeasible mission from a policy perspective. Additionally, a recent drug smuggling innovation, known as "black powder," is likely to only increase the expected utility of smuggling drugs. Black powder is a simple industrial cloaking method that renders many surveillance strategies and chemical tests futile. The consequences of black powder and the exchange between drug control agents and drug smugglers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-160
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Drug control policy and smuggling innovation: A game-theoretic analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this