The Pharmacological Channel Revisited: Alcohol Sales Restrictions and Crime in Bogotá

33 Pages Posted: 9 May 2013

See all articles by Joao De Mello

Joao De Mello

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics

Daniel Mejia

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Lucia Suarez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 6, 2013

Abstract

Our goal in this paper is twofold: First, evaluate the impact on crime of the restriction of late-night alcohol sales in Bogotá; and second, quantify the causal effect of problematic alcohol consumption on different crime categories. Using a control group strategy, we explore time-series and cross-block variation in the restriction to measure its causal effects on several crime categories. We find that the restriction reduced deaths and injuries in car accidents and batteries, compatible with the pharmacological impact of alcohol consumption on crime (Goldstein, 1985). Our results are stronger in areas where the restriction was actually binding (e.g., in blocks with presence of liquor stores) and are highly heterogeneous depending on the number of liquor stores that were restricted at the block level. Finally, we measure the impact of the restriction on alcohol consumption (the first-stage, or mechanism), and quantify the causal pharmacological impact of alcohol consumption on crime using the restriction as an instrument for problematic alcohol consumption (the second stage). We find that alcohol consumption causes deaths and injuries in car accidents and batteries. More precisely, our results indicate that a one standard deviation (s.d.) increase in problematic alcohol consumption increases deaths in car accidents by 0.51 s.d., injuries in car accidents by 0.82 s.d., and batteries by 1.27 s.d.

Keywords: Alcohol restrictions, crime, pharmacological channel

JEL Classification: C2, C54, D04

Suggested Citation

De Mello, Joao M. P. and Mejia, Daniel and Suarez, Lucia, The Pharmacological Channel Revisited: Alcohol Sales Restrictions and Crime in Bogotá (March 6, 2013). Documento CEDE No. 2013-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2262335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2262335

Joao M. P. De Mello (Contact Author)

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics ( email )

Rua Marques de Sao Vicente, 225/206F
Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22453
Brazil

Daniel Mejia

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1 No. 18 A - 10
Bogotá, AA4976
Colombia
57(1)3394949 ext 3737 (Phone)
57(1)3324492 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://economia.uniandes.edu.co/share/scripts/home/home.php

Lucia Suarez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

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