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Alcohol Availability and Crime: Evidence from Census Tract Data


  • Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong

    () (Department of Economics, University of South Florida)


Using census tract data from the city of Detroit and a reduced-form crime equation, this article finds that alcohol availability is positively and significantly related to total, property, and violent crime rates and homicides. The elasticity of crime rates with respect to alcohol availability calculated in this study are 0.92, 0.82, 0.87, and 0.12 for total crime, violent crime, property crime, and homicide, respectively. These elasticities do not change qualitatively across estimation methods for the various measures of crime rates. I find that ordinary least squares estimates impart a downward bias to the effects alcohol availability has on crime rates. Failure to account for the endogeneity of alcohol outlets will therefore result in an underestimate of crime elasticities with respect to alcohol availability. The estimates imply that reducing alcohol availability may decrease crime rates and improve social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, 2001. "Alcohol Availability and Crime: Evidence from Census Tract Data," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(1), pages 2-21, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:68:1:y:2001:p:2-21

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Ng, Irene Y.H., 2010. "Where juvenile serious offenders live: A neighborhood analysis of Wayne County, Michigan," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 207-215, March.
    3. Anderson, D. Mark & Crost, Benjamin & Rees, Daniel I., 2014. "Wet Laws, Drinking Establishments, and Violent Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 8718, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Markowitz, Sara, 2005. "Alcohol, Drugs and Violent Crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 20-44, March.
    5. Hope Corman & Naci Mocan, 2015. "Alcohol Consumption, Deterrence and Crime in New York City," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 103-128, June.
    6. Hope Corman & Naci H. Mocan, 2013. "Alcohol Consumption, Deterrence and Crime in New York City," NBER Working Papers 18731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jon Nelson, 2008. "How Similar are Youth and Adult Alcohol Behaviors? Panel Results for Excise Taxes and Outlet Density," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 36(1), pages 89-104, March.
    8. Jeff Thurk, 2015. "Measuring the Unequal Implications of One Size Fits All Regulation," 2015 Meeting Papers 1251, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Miravete, Eugenio J & Seim, Katja & Thurk, Jeff, 2013. "Complexity, Efficiency, and Fairness of Multi-Product Monopoly Pricing," CEPR Discussion Papers 9641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Gabriel Picone & Joe MacDougald & Frank Sloan & Alyssa Platt & Stefan Kertesz, 2010. "The effects of residential proximity to bars on alcohol consumption," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 347-367, December.
    11. 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.
    12. Rinaldi, Gustavo, 2007. "The use of economic tools to develop a consensus on alcohol policies within and between jurisdictions," MPRA Paper 21941, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Apr 2007.
    13. 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.
    14. Sara Markowitz & Erik Nesson & Eileen Poe-Yamagata & Curtis Florence & Partha Deb & Tracy Andrews & Sarah Beth L. Barnett, 2012. "Estimating the Relationship between Alcohol Policies and Criminal Violence and Victimization," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(4), pages 416-435, November.
    15. Burkey, Mark L., 2010. "Geographic Access and Demand in the Market for Alcohol," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 159-179.

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