Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Photo of Rosalie Pacula
Director, Bing Center for Health Economics; Codirector, RAND Drug Policy Research Center; Senior Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, Duke University; B.S. in political science, Santa Clara University

Media Resources

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Rosalie Liccardo Pacula is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She serves as director of the Bing Center for Health Economics and codirector of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. Her research has largely focused on whether state and local public policies are cost-effective and effective at reducing substance abuse among youths. She had evaluated the impact of marijuana decriminalization and medicalization on marijuana use among youth; analyzed gender and racial differences in response to particular substance use policies; assessed the impact of higher cigarette and alcohol prices on demand for illicit substances; and conducted cost-benefit analyses of school-based drug prevention programs. Pacula has also helped to measure the size of illicit drug markets and prices. As part of this larger research agenda, she has done in-depth policy analyses of state-level parity legislation, medical marijuana policies, and decriminalization policy in the United States and abroad. Pacula has been a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) since 1997, participating in both the NBER Program on Health Economics and on Children. She is currently an assistant editor for the monthly journal Addiction. From 2003 through 2007, she was a member of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Health Services Scientific Review Committee and prior to that served for two years on National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's Health Services Review Committee. Pacula received her Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Faculty Research Fellow, NBER

Recent Projects

  • Factors influencing the supply and demand for illicit drugs
  • Marijuana policy reform (legalization and medical marijuana)
  • Drugs and crime
  • Impact of parity legislation on behavioral health care service utilization and cost
  • Cost-effectiveness of prevention

Selected Publications

Pacula RL and E Sevigny, "Marijuana Liberalizations Policies: Why We Can't Learn Much from Policy Still in Motion," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2013 (forthcoming)

Galenianos M, Pacula RL and Persico N, "A Search-Theoretic Model of the Retail Market for Illicit Drugs," Review of Economic Studies, 79:1239-1269, 2012

McCaffrey D, Pacula RL, Han B and Ellickson P, "Marijuana Use and High School Drop Out: The Influence of Unobservables," Health Economics, 2010

MacCoun R, Pacula RL et al., "Do Citizens Know Whether Their State Has Decriminalized Marijuana?" Review of Law and Economics, 2009

Nicosia, Nancy, et al., The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in the United States, 2005, RAND Corporation (MG-829), 2009

Williams J. et al., "Alcohol and Marijuana Use Among College Students: Economic Complements or Substitutes?" Health Economics, 13, 2004

Hall, Wayne, and Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Cannabis Use and Dependence: Public Health and Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, 2003

Pacula RL et al., "State Medical Marijuana Laws: Understanding the Laws and Their Limitations," Journal of Public Health Policy, 23(4), 2002

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ACLU documentary on drug testing in schools; Arkansas Democrat Gazette; Copley News Service; Reuters


  • Nate Johnson, managing owner of the Queen Anne Cannabis Club in Seattle, Washington

    Legalising Cannabis Is More Than Just a Yes or No Decision

    Any truly honest discussion about how to regulate cannabis markets must start with clear objectives and goals. How these markets are opened can be as important as the decision to legalise cannabis.

    May 2, 2014 The Conversation

  • A group of teenagers drinking outdoors

    U.S. Needs to Improve Community-Based Drug, Alcohol Prevention

    As familiar as Americans are with the problems of youth drug and alcohol abuse, we are not identifying all the potential solutions. While observers criticize overemphasis in U.S. policy on enforcement and scant resources devoted to treatment, the focus on these approaches often ignores a key piece of the puzzle: prevention.

    Jan 31, 2014 The Orange County Register