Professor Benson received his Ph.D. in economics from Texas A&M University in 1978, and has been published widely in academic journals and books on spatial economics, public choice, and the economics of law, crime and drugs. In 1994, he co-authored The Economic Anatomy of a Drug War with Dr. David Rasmussen, which was the result of research begun in 1988 on the allocation of criminal justice resources in Florida. Together with Dr. Rasmussen, he has researched the impact drug-law enforcement has had on police priorities and how such enforcement can undermine the criminal justice system by shifting resources disproportionately towards drug crimes. They are co-editing a special issue of The Journal of Drug Issues, on "The Economics of Substance Abuse." In his most recent work on drug policy, forthcoming in Public Choice, Dr. Benson and his co-authors offer empirical evidence that asset seizure laws and drug law enforcement distort police priorities, and earlier work published in the International Review of Law and Economics and elsewhere shows that the resulting reallocation of limited police resources to drug enforcement leads to an increase in violent and property crimes. "Getting tough on drugs has had the inevitable consequence of getting soft on non-drug crimes." He is an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Drug Issues, the Journal of Regional Science, a Contributing Editor to Independent Review, an editorial board member for the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics and the Quarterly Journal of Libertarian Studies, a Research Advisory Council Member of the James Madison Institute for Policy Studies, a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Emerging Institutions, and a Salvatori Fellow of the Salvatori Center for Academic Leadership at the Heritage Foundation (1992-1994). His most recent book, To Serve and Protect, received the 2000 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award.
(forthcoming) Entrepreneurial Police and Drug Enforcement Policy, Public Choice (with B. Mast and D. Rasmussen).(1998) To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice. New York: New York University Press.(1994). The Economic Anatomy of a Drug War. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.