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Are Alcohol Excise Taxes Good For Us? Short and Long-Term Effects on Mortality Rates

Author

Listed:
  • Philip J. Cook
  • Jan Ostermann
  • Frank A. Sloan

Abstract

Regression results from a 30-year panel of the state-level data indicate that changes in alcohol-excise taxes cause a reduction in drinking and lower all-cause mortality in the short run. But those results do not fully capture the long-term mortality effects of a permanent change in drinking levels. In particular, since moderate drinking has a protective effect against heart disease in middle age, it is possible that a reduction in per capita drinking will result in some people drinking "too little" and dying sooner than they otherwise would. To explore that possibility, we simulate the effect of a one percent reduction in drinking on all-cause mortality for the age group 35-69, using several alternative assumptions about how the reduction is distributed across this population. We find that the long-term mortality effect of a one percent reduction in drinking is essentially nil.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11138
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11138.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, 2004. "Heavy alcohol use and youth suicide: Evidence from tougher drunk driving laws," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 831-842.
    3. Kenneth Clements & Wana Yang & Simon Zheng, 1997. "Is utility additive? The case of alcohol," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(9), pages 1163-1167.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1999:89:3:385-390_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Frank A. Sloan & Justin G. Trogdon, 2004. "Litigation and the Political Clout of the Tobacco Companies: Cigarette Taxes, Prices, and the Master Settlement Agreement," HEW 0411002, EconWPA.
    7. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1995. "Economic conditions and alcohol problems," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 583-603, December.
    8. 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.
    9. Cook, Philip J., 1988. "Increasing the federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 89-91, March.
    10. Henry Saffer & Michael Grossman, 1986. "Beer Taxes, the Legal Drinking Age, and Youth Motor Vehicle Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 1914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1987. "Drinking Age Laws and Highway Mortality Rates: Cause and Effect," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 403-417, July.
    12. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    2. Philip J. Cook & Jan Ostermann & Frank A. Sloan, 2005. "The Net Effect of an Alcohol Tax Increase on Death Rates in Middle Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 278-281, May.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Sara Markowitz & Alison Evans Cuellar & Ryan M. Conrad & Michael Grossman, 2011. "The Effects of Alcohol Policies in Reducing Entry Rates and Time Spent in Foster Care," NBER Working Papers 16915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jason Fletcher, 2012. "Peer influences on adolescent alcohol consumption: evidence using an instrumental variables/fixed effect approach," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 1265-1286, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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