Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is Professor of Public Policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where he teaches methods of policy analysis, crime control, and drug policy. He is the editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, the organizer of the group blog called The Reality-Based Community ( and a member of the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Research Council.

His books include When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (named by The Economist as one of the “Books of the Year” for 2009), Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (winner of the Wildavsky Prize of the Policy Studies Organization for 19xx, and Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control. With Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken, he co-wrote Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know, and (with those co-authors and Beau Kilmer) Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.

He is also CEO of BOTEC Analysis Corporation, which advises governments, non-profits, and corporations on drug policy and crime control. BOTEC was the lead contractor in implementing a legal cannabis market in Washington State.

Mr. Kleiman grew up in Baltimore where he attended local public schools and graduated from Haverford College (B.A. in political science, philosophy, and economics, magna cum laude), before attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received his Master of Public Policy degree in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Public Policy in 1983. He has served as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Les Aspin, special assistant to Polaroid CEO Edwin Land, Deputy Director for Management and Director of Program Analysis for the Office of Management and Budget of the City of Boston, and Associate Director, and then Director, of the Office of Policy and Management Analysis in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

His academic work focuses on designing deterrent regimes that take advantage of positive-feedback effects and the substitution of swiftness and predictability for severity in the criminal justice system, and on policies toward imperfectly rational personal behavior. He taught at Harvard and the University of Rochester before coming to UCLA in 1995.

Mr. Kleiman is also an adjunct scholar at the Center for American Progress and a member of the board of Drug Strategies. He has served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and as the first Thomas C. Schelling Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.

Latest Contributions to

The Heroin Upsurge

The Heroin Upsurge

November 4th, 2019 Mark Kleiman 4 minute read
About as many people start dabbling in prescription opiate abuse each year as take up marijuana, and a small but significant number of them will eventually turn to heroin.
3 Violence-Minimizing Drug Policies That Work

3 Violence-Minimizing Drug Policies That Work

November 4th, 2019 Mark Kleiman 3 minute read
Drug abuse and drug dealing can both foster acts of violence. But that doesn’t mean that any action labeled “anti-drug” will actually reduce violence. Smarter drug policies could reduce violence right away.
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