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Taxing sin and saving lives: Can alcohol taxation reduce female homicides?

Author

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  • Durrance, Christine Piette
  • Golden, Shelley
  • Perreira, Krista
  • Cook, Philip

Abstract

With costs exceeding $5.8 billion per year, violence against women has significant ramifications for victims, their families, the health care systems that treat them, and the employers who depend on their labor. Prior research has found that alcohol abuse contributes to violence against both men and women, and that stringent alcohol control policies can reduce alcohol consumption and in turn some forms of violence. In this paper, we estimate the direct relationship between an important alcohol control measure, excise taxes, and the most extreme form of violence, homicide. We use female homicide rates as our measure of severe violence, as this measure is consistently and accurately reported across multiple years. Our results provide evidence that increased alcohol taxes reduce alcohol consumption and that reductions in alcohol consumption can reduce femicide. Unfortunately, a direct test of the relationship does not have the power to determine whether alcohol taxes effectively reduce female homicide rates. We conclude that while alcohol taxes have been shown to effectively reduce other forms of violence against women, policy makers may need alternative policy levers to reduce the most severe form of violence against women.

Suggested Citation

  • Durrance, Christine Piette & Golden, Shelley & Perreira, Krista & Cook, Philip, 2011. "Taxing sin and saving lives: Can alcohol taxation reduce female homicides?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 169-176, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:1:p:169-176
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2010. "Alcohol Regulation and Crime," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 291-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "The Price of Alcohol, Wife Abuse, and Husband Abuse," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 279-303, July.
    4. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, 2006. "Aiming for evidence-based gun policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 691-735.
    5. Young, Douglas J & BieliĀ“nska-Kwapisz, Agnieszka, 2002. "Alcohol Taxes and Beverage Prices," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(1), pages 57-73, March.
    6. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    7. Young, Douglas J & BieliĀ“nska-Kwapisz, Agnieszka, 2002. "Alcohol Taxes and Beverage Prices," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 57-73, March.
    8. Christopher Carpenter, 2007. "Heavy Alcohol Use and Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk-Driving Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 539-557.
    9. Philip J. Cook & Jan Ostermann & Frank A. Sloan, 2005. "Are Alcohol Excise Taxes Good For Us? Short and Long-Term Effects on Mortality Rates," NBER Working Papers 11138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Philip J. Cook & Bethany Peters, 2005. "The Myth of the Drinker's Bonus," NBER Working Papers 11902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Markowitz, Sara & Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The effects of beer taxes on physical child abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 271-282, March.
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    18. 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 161-186, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cook, Philip J. & Durrance, Christine Piette, 2013. "The virtuous tax: Lifesaving and crime-prevention effects of the 1991 federal alcohol-tax increase," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 261-267.
    2. Averett, Susan L. & Wang, Yang, 2014. "Identifying the Causal Effect of Alcohol Abuse on the Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence by Men Using a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7996, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jason M. Lindo & Peter M. Siminski & Isaac D. Swensen, 2015. "College Party Culture and Sexual Assault," NBER Working Papers 21828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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