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Sex Under the Influence: The Effect of Alcohol Policy on Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates in the United States

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  • Chesson, Harrell
  • Harrison, Paul
  • Kassler, William J

Abstract

This article presents evidence that sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates are responsive to increases in alcohol taxes and in the drinking age. The presumed relationship is that a more restrictive alcohol policy reduces alcohol consumption, which in turn decreases risky sexual activity. Reduced-form regressions of STD rates on state alcohol taxes for the years 1981-95 (with controls for state and year) indicate that a $1 increase in the per-gallon liquor tax reduces gonorrhea rates by 2.1 percent, and a beer tax increase of $.20 per six-pack reduces gonorrhea rates by 8.9 percent, with similar though more pronounced effects on syphilis rates. Quasi-experimental analysis of alcohol policy changes supports these findings and offers evidence that increases in the drinking age reduce STD rates among youth. The estimated external cost of alcohol-attributable STDs exceeds $556 million annually, a factor that could be considered in determining optimal alcohol policy. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Chesson, Harrell & Harrison, Paul & Kassler, William J, 2000. "Sex Under the Influence: The Effect of Alcohol Policy on Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates in the United States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 215-238, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:43:y:2000:i:1:p:215-38
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467453
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2016. "Smokers’ Preference for Divorce and Extramarital Sex," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 59(2), pages 44-76.
    2. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Smokers’ Sexual Behavior and Their Satisfaction with Family Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 1229-1247, September.
    3. Lindo, Jason M. & Swensen, Isaac D. & Waddell, Glen R., 2013. "Alcohol and student performance: Estimating the effect of legal access," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 22-32.
    4. Resul Cesur & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2014. "Who Pays The Bar Tab? Beer Consumption And Economic Growth In The United States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 477-494, January.
    5. Thomas S. Dee & William N. Evans, 2003. "Teen Drinking and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimates," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 178-209, January.
    6. Philip J. Cook & Christine Piette Durrance, 2011. "The Virtuous Tax: Lifesaving and Crime-Prevention Effects of the 1991 Federal Alcohol-Tax Increase," NBER Working Papers 17709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Cooper, James C. & Wright, Joshua D., 2012. "Alcohol, antitrust, and the 21st Amendment: An empirical examination of post and hold laws," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 379-392.
    8. Anindya Sen & May Luong, 2008. "Estimating The Impact Of Beer Prices On The Incidence Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Cross-Province And Time Series Evidence From Canada," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 505-517, October.
    9. Rees, Daniel I. & Argys, Laura M. & Averett, Susan L., 2001. "New evidence on the relationship between substance use and adolescent sexual behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 835-845, September.
    10. Christine Piette Durrance, 2013. "The Effects Of Increased Access To Emergency Contraception On Sexually Transmitted Disease And Abortion Rates," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1682-1695, July.
    11. Sen, Bisakha, 2003. "An indirect test for whether restricting Medicaid funding for abortion increases pregnancy-avoidance behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 155-163, November.
    12. Bisakha Sen, 2003. "A preliminary investigation of the effects of restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortions on female STD rates," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(6), pages 453-464.
    13. Sen, Bisakha, 2002. "Does alcohol-use increase the risk of sexual intercourse among adolescents? Evidence from the NLSY97," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1085-1093, November.
    14. repec:kap:iaecre:v:23:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11294-017-9631-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Ceren Ertan Yörük & Barış Yörük, 2015. "Alcohol consumption and risky sexual behavior among young adults: evidence from minimum legal drinking age laws," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 133-157, January.
    16. 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.
    17. Francis, Andrew M. & Mialon, Hugo M. & Peng, Handie, 2012. "In sickness and in health: Same-sex marriage laws and sexually transmitted infections," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1329-1341.
    18. repec:eee:jbfina:v:85:y:2017:i:c:p:132-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Rashad, Inas & Kaestner, Robert, 2004. "Teenage sex, drugs and alcohol use: problems identifying the cause of risky behaviors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 493-503, May.
    20. Francis, Andrew M., 2008. "The economics of sexuality: The effect of HIV/AIDS on homosexual behavior in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 675-689, May.
    21. 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.
    22. Waddell, Glen R., 2010. "Gender and the Influence of Peer Alcohol Consumption on Adolescent Sexual Activity," IZA Discussion Papers 4880, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    23. Jon Nelson, 2003. "Advertising Bans, Monopoly, and Alcohol Demand: Testing for Substitution Effects using State Panel Data," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 22(1), pages 1-25, February.
    24. Cuffe, Harold E. & Gibbs, Christopher G., 2017. "The effect of payday lending restrictions on liquor sales," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 132-145.
    25. Sara Markowitz & Alison Cuellar & Ryan Conrad & Michael Grossman, 2014. "Alcohol control and foster care," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 589-612, December.

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