A Theoretical Analysis of Alcohol Regulation and Drinking-Related Economic Crime
Paul R. Zimmerman
U.S. Federal Trade Commission - Bureau of Economics
Alcohol consumption is widely believed to influence criminal activity, and numerous sociological, criminological, and psychological studies demonstrate an apparent positive correlation between drinking and crime. Using a multiattribute model of offender and victim behavior, this study examines the theoretical effects of changes in the price of alcohol on the incidence of crimes committed for economic gain. It is shown that in the general case price effects do not result in an unambiguous decrease in the rates of crime or victimization even when the models are constructed to impose a bias towards the finding of a causal negative price effect. Using a modified model of the drinking offender that imposes even further structure on the model, it is shown that the realization and magnitude of a negative equilibrium alcohol price effect will likely depend upon the implementation of complementary alcohol control policies. The implications of the theoretical analysis to policy implementation and empirical research are also considered.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: drinking, crime, alcohol regulation
JEL Classification: K42, I18, J22working papers series
Date posted: October 13, 2003
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