Sunday, December 1, 2019

Did Early Twintieth-Century Alcohol Prohibition Laws Reduce Mortality?

Did Early Twintieth-Century Alcohol Prohibition Affect Mortality? Marc T. Law  Mindy S. Marks. Economic Inquiry, November 28 2019.

Abstract: We investigate the contemporaneous mortality consequences of alcohol prohibition laws introduced in America between 1900 and 1920. We improve on existing studies by constructing a time‐varying measure of prohibition at the state level that corrects for the timing of prohibition enforcement and accounts for the presence of dry counties. Using summary indices that aggregate alcohol‐related mortality due to disease and poor decisions, we find that prohibition significantly reduced mortality rates. These findings are corroborated with an area‐level analysis that exploits data on deaths in urban areas that were wet prior to statewide or federal prohibition and nonurban areas that were partially dry. (JEL I18, N4, K2)

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