Alumni (National Fellow)

Beth Freeborn

National Fellow
B.A. University of Virginia (1998)
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2003)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Professional Sectors:
Dream Mentor:
Peter Reuter
University of Maryland
Fields of Interest:
Economic Policy
Legal History
Political Economy


Beth A. Freeborn is an economist in the consumer protection division of the Federal Trade Commission. Her fields of interest are in industrial organization, applied microeconomics, economics of crime, and experimental industrial organization. Prior to joining the Federal Trade Commission, Freeborn was assistant professor of economics at the College of William & Mary (2004-2011), where she taught courses on microeconomics and industrial organization. Freeborn holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia.

Thesis Description:

Drug Laws and the Market for Cocaine
Freeborn’s dissertation was an economic study of the market for powder and crack cocaine using data collected from the Drug Enforcement Agency from 1984 to 2001. She examined how drug dealers make decisions regarding what type of cocaine package to produce. The benefit to dealers is the total revenue they receive from the packages they sell, and the cost to dealers is both the monetary cost of purchasing the wholesale cocaine and the legal penalty if they are caught selling cocaine. These legal penalties vary greatly by state, providing different incentives to dealers based on geographical location. This project created and estimated a model of the market for cocaine. This model can then be utilized to analyze a number of different public policy questions.

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