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An Economic Analysis of Alcohol, Drugs, and Violent Crime in the National Crime Victimization Survey

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  • Sara Markowitz

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the direct relationship between the prices of alcohol and drugs and the incidence of criminal violence in a nationally representative sample of individuals in the United States. The positive association between substance use and violence is well documented, as is the negative relationship between the quantity of alcohol or drugs consumed and their prices. These two relationships together form the principal hypothesis examining whether increases in substance prices will directly decrease the incidence of criminal violence. Violence is measured by assault, rape/sexual assault and robbery. Measures of alcohol or drug involved violent crimes are also considered. The data come from the 1992, 1993 and 1994 National Crime Victimization Surveys. A reduced form model is estimated in which the probability of being a victim of a violent crime is determined by the full prices of alcohol and illegal drugs, the arrest rates for violent crimes, and characteristics of the respondent. Individual- level fixed effects are also employed in some models. Results from the preferred specifications indicate that higher beer taxes lead to a lower incidence of assault, but not rape or robbery. Higher beer taxes will also lead to lower probabilities of alcohol- or drug-involved assault. Decriminalizing marijuana will result in a higher incidence of assault and robbery, while higher cocaine prices will decrease these crimes.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7982
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Grossman, Michael & Chaloupka, Frank J & Sirtalan, Ismail, 1998. "An Empirical Analysis of Alcohol Addiction: Results from the Monitoring the Future Panels," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 39-48, January.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1995:85:3:335-340_1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman & John A. Tauras, 1999. "The Demand for Cocaine and Marijuana by Youth," NBER Chapters,in: The Economic Analysis of Substance Use and Abuse: An Integration of Econometrics and Behavioral Economic Research, pages 133-156 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. Desimone, Jeff, 2001. "The Effect of Cocaine Prices on Crime," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 627-643, October.
    7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    8. Sara Markowitz & Michael Grossman, 1998. "The Effects of Alcohol Regulation on Physical Child Abuse," NBER Working Papers 6629, 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. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
    12. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "Criminal Violence and Alcohol Beverage Control: Evidence from an International Study," NBER Working Papers 7481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kent Matthews & Jonathan Shepherd & Vaseekaran Sivarajasingham, 2006. "Violence-related injury and the price of beer in England and Wales," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(6), pages 661-670.
    2. Arlen Guarin & Carlos Medina & Jorge Andres Tamayo, 2013. "The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-420, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Mehlum, Halvor & Miguel, Edward & Torvik, Ragnar, 2004. "Rainfall, Poverty and Crime in 19th Century Germany," Memorandum 04/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. H. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2003. "Guns, Drugs and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Panel of Siblings and Twins," NBER Working Papers 9824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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