A Test of Prohibition's Effect on Alcohol Production Using Crop Yields

26 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2012 Last revised: 4 Jul 2012

See all articles by Griffin Sims Edwards

Griffin Sims Edwards

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics

Brent Travis Howe

Northwestern University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2, 2012

Abstract

The effects of alcohol Prohibition in the United States have been the subject of debate and research since the laws were enacted. Due to a lack of data, one question that remains unanswered is the effect Prohibition had on the actual production of alcohol. This paper attempts to answer this question by estimating Prohibition's impact on the yields of various grains which constitute one of the principal inputs in alcohol production. Understanding the impact of Prohibition on crop output plays an important role in parsing out its effect on alcohol production. Using a variety of data sources and exploiting the variation in timing of state prohibition law adoption, we estimate the effect of Prohibition on several measures of crop production. Our preferred identification strategy compares contiguous counties in states with differing prohibition laws. Our findings suggest that state prohibition laws decreased the production of barley and increased the production of corn.

Keywords: Prohibition, contiguous counties, alcohol production

JEL Classification: N41, N51, K23, K42

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Griffin Sims and Howe, Brent Travis, A Test of Prohibition's Effect on Alcohol Production Using Crop Yields (February 2, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998402 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1998402

Griffin Sims Edwards (Contact Author)

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics ( email )

The University of Alabama at Birmingham
1720 2nd Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35294
United States

Brent Travis Howe

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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