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The Effect of Sunday Sales of Alcohol on Highway Crash Fatalities


  • Stehr Mark F

    () (Drexel University)


A large body of evidence indicates that increased alcohol availability leads to increased consumption of alcohol. From 1995 to 2008, fourteen states relaxed or repealed their bans on the Sunday sale of packaged alcohol. This paper leverages these repeals to provide quasi-experimental evidence on the effect of Sunday sales bans on alcohol related crash fatalities. Previous published studies in this area have found conflicting results regarding the effect of Sunday sales on traffic accidents and fatalities, but these studies have focused on repeals in single states, cities, or provinces; are outdated; or have failed to control for underlying changes in traffic fatalities that may be correlated with repeals but are due to other factors affecting traffic safety. Drawing upon data from the lower 48 states from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), this paper finds that only the repeal in New Mexico led to an increase in fatalities. The effect is evident only in New Mexico because this repeal led to larger increases in drinking in New Mexico than in other states, residents of New Mexico drive more than residents of the other repeal states, and there is a greater fraction of traffic fatalities involving alcohol in New Mexico than in the other repeal states.

Suggested Citation

  • Stehr Mark F, 2010. "The Effect of Sunday Sales of Alcohol on Highway Crash Fatalities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-22, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:73

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas S Dee, 2001. "Does setting limits save lives? The case of 0.08 BAC laws," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 111-128.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcus, Jan & Siedler, Thomas, 2015. "Reducing binge drinking? The effect of a ban on late-night off-premise alcohol sales on alcohol-related hospital stays in Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 55-77.
    2. Christopher S. Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin & Casey Warman, 2016. "The Mechanisms of Alcohol Control," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 328-356.
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Meer & Neva K. Novarro, 2012. "Do Consumers Exploit Precommitment Opportunities? Evidence from Natural Experiments Involving Liquor Consumption," NBER Working Papers 17762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jungtaek Lee & Baris K. Yörük, 2014. "Does Legalization of Sunday Alcohol Sales Increase Crime?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5065, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Green, Colin P. & Heywood, John. S. & Navarro, Maria, 2014. "Did liberalising bar hours decrease traffic accidents?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 189-198.
    6. Colin Green & John Heywood & Maria Navarro Paniagua, 2013. "Did liberalising English and Welsh bar hours cause traffic accidents?," Working Papers 33996659, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. Marcos Yamada Nakaguma & Brandon Restrepo, 2014. "Unintended Benefits of Election Day Alcohol Bans: Evidence from Road Crashes and Hospitalizations in Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2014_21, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    8. Erik Nesson & Vinish Shrestha, 2016. "The Effects of False Identification Laws with a Scanner Provision on Underage Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities," Working Papers 2016-17, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2016.

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