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Alcohol abuse and economic conditions: Evidence from repeated cross-sections of individual-level data

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  • Thomas S. Dee

    (Department of Economics, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, USA)

Abstract

This study presents novel evidence on the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and patterns of alcohol consumption. Prior research has suggested that alcohol abuse varies procyclically, implying that income effects dominate any drinking patterns related to the opportunity cost of time or the psychological stress of recessions. However, those inferences have been based either on aggregate measures of consumption volume or possibly confounded cross-sectional identification strategies. This study examines these issues by evaluating detailed consumption data from the more than 700-000 respondents who participated in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys over the 1984-1995 period. The results provide robust evidence that the prevalence of binge drinking is strongly countercyclical. Furthermore, even among those who remain employed, binge drinking increased substantially during economic downturns. This combination of results suggests that recession-induced increases in the prevalence of binge drinking do not simply reflect an increased availability of leisure and may instead reflect the influence of economic stress. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.588
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 257-270

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:10:y:2001:i:3:p:257-270

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Michael J. Moore & Philip J. Cook, 1999. "Alcohol," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State 156, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    • Cook, Philip J. & Moore, Michael J., 2000. "Alcohol," Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 30, pages 1629-1673 Elsevier.
  2. Manning, Willard G. & Blumberg, Linda & Moulton, Lawrence H., 1995. "The demand for alcohol: The differential response to price," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 123-148, June.
  3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  4. Cook, Philip J. & Moore, Michael J., 1994. "This Tax's for You: The Case for Higher Beer Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(3), pages 559-73, September.
  5. Ettner, Susan L., 1997. "Measuring the human cost of a weak economy: Does unemployment lead to alcohol abuse?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 251-260, January.
  6. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Adit Laixuthai, 1993. "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," NBER Working Papers 4385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
  8. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 49-77, April.
  9. Brent D. Mast & Bruce L. Benson & David W. Rasmussen, 1999. "Beer Taxation and Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 214-249, October.
  10. John Mullahy & Jody L. Sindelar, 1997. "Women and work: tipplers and teetotalers," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(5), pages 533-537.
  11. Chapman, Kenneth S & Hariharan, Govind, 1994. "Controlling for Causality in the Link from Income to Mortality," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 85-93, January.
  12. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1995. "Economic conditions and alcohol problems," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 583-603, December.
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