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Are Alcohol Excise Taxes Good For Us? Short and Long-Term Effects on Mortality Rates

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  • Philip J. Cook
  • Jan Ostermann
  • Frank A. Sloan

Abstract

Regression results from a 30-year panel of the state-level data indicate that changes in alcohol-excise taxes cause a reduction in drinking and lower all-cause mortality in the short run. But those results do not fully capture the long-term mortality effects of a permanent change in drinking levels. In particular, since moderate drinking has a protective effect against heart disease in middle age, it is possible that a reduction in per capita drinking will result in some people drinking "too little" and dying sooner than they otherwise would. To explore that possibility, we simulate the effect of a one percent reduction in drinking on all-cause mortality for the age group 35-69, using several alternative assumptions about how the reduction is distributed across this population. We find that the long-term mortality effect of a one percent reduction in drinking is essentially nil.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11138.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11138

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  1. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Michael Grossman, 1991. "Alcohol Control Policies and Motor Vehicle Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 3831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philip J. Cook & Michael J. Moore, 2001. "Environment and Persistence in Youthful Drinking Patterns," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 375-438 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
  4. 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.
  5. Kenneth Clements & Wana Yang & Simon Zheng, 1997. "Is utility additive? The case of alcohol," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(9), pages 1163-1167.
  6. 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.
  7. Cook, Philip J., 1988. "Increasing the federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 89-91, March.
  8. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1995. "Economic conditions and alcohol problems," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 583-603, December.
  9. Frank A. Sloan & Justin G. Trogdon, 2004. "Litigation and the Political Clout of the Tobacco Companies: Cigarette Taxes, Prices, and the Master Settlement Agreement," School of Economics Working Papers 2004-04, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  10. Christopher Carpenter, 2004. "Heavy alcohol use and youth suicide: Evidence from tougher drunk driving laws," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 831-842.
  11. 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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Cited by:
  1. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sara Markowitz & Alison Evans Cuellar & Ryan M. Conrad & Michael Grossman, 2011. "The Effects of Alcohol Policies in Reducing Entry Rates and Time Spent in Foster Care," NBER Working Papers 16915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Todd M. Nesbit, 2005. "The Revenue Impacts of Cross-border Sales and Tourism: Wine and Liquor Taxation," Working Papers 05-12 Classification-, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
  4. Jason Fletcher, 2012. "Peer influences on adolescent alcohol consumption: evidence using an instrumental variables/fixed effect approach," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1265-1286, October.
  5. Philip J. Cook & Jan Ostermann & Frank A. Sloan, 2005. "The Net Effect of an Alcohol Tax Increase on Death Rates in Middle Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 278-281, May.

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