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Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities

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  • Ruhm, Christopher J.

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of beer taxes and a variety of alcohol-control policies on motor vehicle fatality rates, using fixed- effect models with data for the 48 contiguous states over the 1982 through 1988 time period. The econometric findings highlight the fragility of the parameter estimates to reasonable changes in model specifications. Special attention is paid to omitted variables biases resulting from failing to adequately control for grassroots efforts to reduce drunk driving, the enactment of other laws which simultaneously operate to reduce highway fatalities, and the economic conditions existing at the time of the legislation. In the preferred specifications, most of the regulations have little or no impact on traffic mortality. By contrast, higher beer taxes are associated with reductions in crash deaths and this result is relatively robust across specifications. These findings suggest the limited ability of further regulatory action to reduce drunk-driving but point to a potentially significant role for higher alcohol taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 435-454

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:15:y:1996:i:4:p:435-454

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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References

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  1. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody L, 1993. "Alcoholism, Work, and Income," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 494-520, July.
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  4. Kenkel, Donald S, 1993. "Drinking, Driving, and Deterrence: The Effectiveness and Social Costs of Alternative Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 877-913, October.
  5. Sloan, Frank A & Reilly, Bridget A & Schenzler, Christoph, 1995. "Effects of Tort Liability and Insurance on Heavy Drinking and Drinking and Driving," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 49-77, April.
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  9. Philip J. Cook & George Tauchen, 1982. "The Effect of Liquor Taxes on Heavy Drinking," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 379-390, Autumn.
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  11. Michael Grossman, 1993. "Policy Watch: Alcohol and Cigarette Taxes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 211-222, Fall.
  12. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody, 1996. "Employment, unemployment, and problem drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 409-434, August.
  13. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-86, January.
  14. Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1987. "Drinking Age Laws and Highway Mortality Rates: Cause and Effect," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 403-17, July.
  15. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1995. "Economic conditions and alcohol problems," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 583-603, December.
  16. DONALD S. Kenkel, 1993. "Prohibition Versus Taxation: Reconsidering The Legal Drinking Age," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(3), pages 48-57, 07.
  17. Henry Saffer & Michael Grossman, 1986. "Beer Taxes, the Legal Drinking Age, and Youth Motor Vehicle Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 1914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Sloan, Frank A. & Reilly, Bridget A. & Schenzler, Christoph M., 1994. "Tort liability versus other approaches for deterring careless driving," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 53-71, March.
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