Benjamin Hansen, Department of Economics

Ben Hansen, University of Oregon Department of Economics

Benjamin Hansen, W.E. Miner Professor in Economics

Assistant Professor
Practice Areas: Marijuana, Suicide, Law Enforcement, Risky Behavior

Faculty bio | Research website | (541) 357-8395 | Twitter

Ben Hansen is an academic expert on marijuana, risky behaviors, like drug and alcohol abuse, and policies to reduce risk. At the University of Oregon, he is a faculty research fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research and a fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor. He has published in leading academic journals in economics, including the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and Journal of Law and Economics. Ben has previously investigated DUI punishments and their effects on repeat drunk driving, police employment levels and traffic fatalities, and the public health consequences of medical marijuana laws. His work goes beyond substance abuse and also covers research on bullying and youth suicide, crime, and prison polices and inmate behavior.

Recent Media: 
Left Turn: Liberal Bastions Pivot to Tougher Stances on Drugs, Crime (U.S. News & World Report)
City Club of Eugene: Outdoor Spaces: Good for You, Good for the Economy (KLCC, Oct. 16, 2023)
Suspected suicide attempts surged among youth during pandemic, study shows (STAT, April, 21, 2023)
Curious: how the pandemic shuffled our working hours and duration (Jefferson Public Radio, Feb. 11, 2022)
Do more police reduce violence? Oakland grapples with how to make city safer. (KTVU, Dec. 6, 2021)
Large police forces decrease homicides in black cities but increase low-level arrests: Study (Washington Examiner, Dec. 14, 2020)
Alcohol-related car crashes declined in Idaho after Washington legalized marijuana next door (The Boston Globe, Nov. 26, 2019)
New JAMA study shows legalizing pot might discourage teen use (CNBC, July 8, 2019)
How Salary History Bans Help Close the Gender Wage Gap (Ms., May 15, 2020)
Think ex-felons should be working? Then give them a chance (Bloomberg, April 3, 2019)
Traffic deaths rose, then fell, after three states legalized marijuana (The Verge, Feb. 5, 2019)
The reasonable way to view marijuana’s risks (The New York Times, Jan. 14, 2019)
High on the highway: Challenges with marijuana DUIs (National Public Radio, Dec. 14, 2018)
It can take over 5 hours after smoking marijuana to be safe to drive, a new study says (Miami Herald, Oct. 17, 2018)
Oregon's marijuana legalization prompted big drop in sales in Washington's border counties (, Sept. 5, 2017)
After states legalized medical marijuana, traffic deaths fell (Reuters, Dec. 28, 2016)
How Hiding Criminal Records Hurts Black and Hispanic Men (TIME, Sept. 8, 2016)
Ban the box (Oregon Public Broadcasting, Aug. 15, 2016)
The unforeseen consequences of banning the box (The Atlantic, Aug. 4, 2016)
A major policy to help people with criminal records get jobs might be totally backfiring (Fusion, Aug. 2, 2016)
Does driving high on marijuana increase fatal crashes? (Live Science, May 10, 2016)
Making drunk drivers work in a morgue won’t stop drunk driving (New York Magazine, April 14, 2016)
Economist: Minimum wage zones could make businesses look outside of Portland (KVAL, Feb. 19, 2016)
If cigarette tax goes up by $1 how much will smoking rate go down? (The Indianapolis Star, Jan. 27, 2016)
How much marijuana can I have and still be safe to drive? (The Globe and Mail, Dec. 22, 2015)
The disturbing truth about driving while stoned (The Huffington Post, July 8, 2015)
Driving with a marijuana high: dangerous is it? (Live Science, July 6, 2015)
UO economist: DUII laws have helped reduce reoffense (Around the O, April 6, 2015)
Marijuana legalization: University of Oregon economist offers positive take on legal pot (The Oregonian, Oct. 16, 2014)
Rise early and shine: Teachers and students try out longer school days (NPR, Feb. 10, 2013)