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The Effects of Alcohol Regulation on Physical Child Abuse


  • Sara Markowitz
  • Michael Grossman


The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of alcohol regulation on physical child abuse. Given the established relationship between alcohol consumption and violence, the principal hypothesis to be tested is that an increase in the price of alcohol will lead to a reduction in the incidence of violence. We also examine the effects of measures of the ease of obtaining alcohol, illegal drug prices, and the socio-demographic characteristics of the parent on the incidence of child abuse. Data on violence come from the 1976 and 1985 Physical Violence in American Families surveys. We estimate a reduced form model where violence is affected by the state excise tax rate on beer and other regulatory variables, and a structural model where violence is determined partly by consumption. Both equations are estimated separately for mothers and fathers. Results indicate that increases in the beer tax may decrease the incidence of violence committed by females but not by males. This is consistent with our second finding that violence by females increases with alcohol consumption while violence by males is not sensitive to changes in consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Markowitz & Michael Grossman, 1998. "The Effects of Alcohol Regulation on Physical Child Abuse," NBER Working Papers 6629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6629
    Note: HE CH

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Amy Farmer & Jill Tiefenthaler, 1997. "An Economic Analysis of Domestic Violence," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(3), pages 337-358.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
    4. Michael J. Moore & Philip J. Cook, 1995. "Habit and Heterogeneity in the Youthful Demand for Alcohol," NBER Working Papers 5152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Grossman, Michael & Chaloupka, Frank J., 1998. "The demand for cocaine by young adults: a rational addiction approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 427-474, August.
    6. Yatchew, Adonis & Griliches, Zvi, 1985. "Specification Error in Probit Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 134-139, February.
    7. Tauchen, Helen V & Witte, Ann Dryden & Long, Sharon K, 1991. "Domestic Violence: A Nonrandom Affair," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(2), pages 491-511, May.
    8. Helen V. Tauchen & Ann Dryden Witte & Sharon K. Long, 1985. "Domestic Violence: A Non-random Affair," NBER Working Papers 1665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Sara Markowitz & Michael Grossman, 1998. "Alcohol Regulation And Domestic Violence Towards Children," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(3), pages 309-320, July.
    10. Kenkel, Donald S, 1993. "Drinking, Driving, and Deterrence: The Effectiveness and Social Costs of Alternative Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 877-913, October.
    11. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Markowitz, Sara, 2005. "Alcohol, Drugs and Violent Crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 20-44, March.
    2. Angelucci, Manuela, 2007. "Love on the Rocks: Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence in Rural Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 2706, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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. 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.
    5. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "Criminal Violence and Alcohol Beverage Control: Evidence from an International Study," NBER Working Papers 7481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Angelucci Manuela, 2008. "Love on the Rocks: Domestic Violence and Alcohol Abuse in Rural Mexico," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-43, October.
    7. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "An Economic Analysis of Alcohol, Drugs, and Violent Crime in the National Crime Victimization Survey," NBER Working Papers 7982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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