Effects of prices, civil and criminal sanctions, and law enforcement on alcohol-related mortality.
Alcohol use has been linked to several causes of death. This study provides an empirical analysis of the effects of various public policies on mortality rates by state and year for the years 1982-88. Causes of death analyzed are: alcohol primary cause; traffic accident; homicides; suicides; falls, fires and other accidents; and contributory cause deaths (cancers of the alimentary tract). We find that increasing the price of alcohol decreases mortality rates for some of the causes, but not for primary cause deaths. Higher excise taxes on cigarettes reduce contributory cause mortality. Dram shop laws have negative and statistically significant effects not only on mortality rates from traffic accidents, but for several of the other causes. There is a need for further analysis to determine how these reductions are achieved. We find no evidence that imposing mandatory minimum jail terms, fines or license revocation for a DUI conviction affects alcohol-related mortality. However, increased police protection decreases mortality rates for several categories, especially homicides and traffic accidents. We find that imposing the death penalty reduces homicide rates. Reductions in alcohol-related mortality may be achieved by implementing a mix of public policies. No single policy is a panacea.
Sloan, FA; Reilly, BA; Schenzler, C
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