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The Effect of Alcohol Prohibition on Illicit-Drug-Related Crimes

  • Conlin, Michael
  • Dickert-Conlin, Stacy
  • Pepper, John

We evaluate the effect of alcohol access on drug-related crime and mortality using detailed information on access laws in Texas between 1978 and 1996. Counties with alcohol access have higher average levels of drug-related crimes. However, after controlling for both county and year fixed effects, we find that having local alcohol access decreases crime associated with illicit drugs. This basic finding is replicated in two alternative analyses. First, we find that prohibiting the sale of beer to persons under 21, which arguably increases the implicit price of liquor more for juveniles in wet counties than for those in dry counties, increases the fraction of drug-related arrests involving juveniles more in wet counties than in dry counties. Second, we find that after controlling for both county and year fixed effects, local alcohol access decreases mortality associated with illicit drugs. Alcohol access and illicit-drug-related outcomes appear to be substitutes.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/428017
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 48 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 215-34

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2005:v:48:i:1:p:215-34
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Frank J. Chaloupka & Adit Laixuthai, 1994. "Do Youths Substitute Alcohol and Marijuana? Some Econometric Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 61, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "State alcohol policies, teen drinking and traffic fatalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 289-315, May.
  4. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-42, August.
  5. Baltagi, Badi H & Griffin, James M, 1995. "A Dynamic Demand Model for Liquor: The Case for Pooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 545-54, August.
  6. Carpenter, Christopher, 2004. "How do Zero Tolerance Drunk Driving Laws work?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 61-83, January.
  7. Baughman, Reagan & Conlin, Michael & Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Pepper, John, 2001. "Slippery when wet: the effects of local alcohol access laws on highway safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1089-1096, November.
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