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An Economic Analysis of Alcohol, Drugs, and Violent Crime in the National Crime Victimization Survey

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  • Sara Markowitz

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the direct relationship between the prices of alcohol and drugs and the incidence of criminal violence in a nationally representative sample of individuals in the United States. The positive association between substance use and violence is well documented, as is the negative relationship between the quantity of alcohol or drugs consumed and their prices. These two relationships together form the principal hypothesis examining whether increases in substance prices will directly decrease the incidence of criminal violence. Violence is measured by assault, rape/sexual assault and robbery. Measures of alcohol or drug involved violent crimes are also considered. The data come from the 1992, 1993 and 1994 National Crime Victimization Surveys. A reduced form model is estimated in which the probability of being a victim of a violent crime is determined by the full prices of alcohol and illegal drugs, the arrest rates for violent crimes, and characteristics of the respondent. Individual- level fixed effects are also employed in some models. Results from the preferred specifications indicate that higher beer taxes lead to a lower incidence of assault, but not rape or robbery. Higher beer taxes will also lead to lower probabilities of alcohol- or drug-involved assault. Decriminalizing marijuana will result in a higher incidence of assault and robbery, while higher cocaine prices will decrease these crimes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7982.

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Date of creation: Oct 2000
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Publication status: published as Markowitz, Sara. "Alcohol, Drugs And Violent Crime," International Review of Law and Economics, 2005, v25(1,Mar), 20-44.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7982

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  1. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 877-913, October.
  4. Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman & John A. Tauras, 1998. "The Demand for Cocaine and Marijuana by Youth," NBER Working Papers 6411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman & John A. Tauras, 1999. "The Demand for Cocaine and Marijuana by Youth," NBER Chapters, in: The Economic Analysis of Substance Use and Abuse: An Integration of Econometrics and Behavioral Economic Research, pages 133-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jeffrey DeSimone, 1999. "The Effect of Cocaine Prices on Crime," Working Papers, East Carolina University, Department of Economics 9907, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  6. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Charles C. Brown, 1996. "The Demand for Cocaine by Young Adults: A Rational Addiction Approach," NBER Working Papers 5713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  8. Grossman, Michael & Chaloupka, Frank J & Sirtalan, Ismail, 1998. "An Empirical Analysis of Alcohol Addiction: Results from the Monitoring the Future Panels," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 39-48, January.
  9. Sara Markowitz & Michael Grossman, 1998. "The Effects of Alcohol Regulation on Physical Child Abuse," NBER Working Papers 6629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "Criminal Violence and Alcohol Beverage Control: Evidence from an International Study," NBER Working Papers 7481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sara Markowitz & Michael Grossman, 1998. "Alcohol Regulation And Domestic Violence Towards Children," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(3), pages 309-320, 07.
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Cited by:
  1. Mocan, Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2003. "Guns, Drugs and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Panel of Siblings and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Beau Kilmer, 2003. "Marijuana and Crime: Is there a Connection Beyond Prohibition?," NBER Working Papers 10046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arlen Guarín & Carlos Medina & Jorge Andrés Tamayo, 2013. "The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 010972, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  4. Mehlum, Halvor & Miguel, Edward & Torvik, Ragnar, 2004. "Rainfall, Poverty and Crime in 19th Century Germany," Memorandum, Oslo University, Department of Economics 04/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

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