Wet Laws, Drinking Establishments, and Violent Crime

58 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2014

See all articles by D. Mark Anderson

D. Mark Anderson

University of Washington - Economics

Benjamin Crost

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

Drawing on county-level data from Kansas for the period 1977-2011, we examine whether plausibly exogenous increases in the number of establishments licensed to sell alcohol by the drink are related to violent crime. During this period, 86 out of 105 counties in Kansas voted to legalize the sale of alcohol to the general public for on-premises consumption. We provide evidence that these counties experienced substantial increases in the total number of establishments with on-premises liquor licenses (e.g., bars and restaurants). Using legalization as an instrument, we show that a 10 percent increase in drinking establishments is associated with a 4 percent increase in violent crime. Reduced-form estimates suggest that legalizing the sale of alcohol to the general public for on-premises consumption is associated with an 11 percent increase in violent crime.

Keywords: alcohol, liquor licenses, crime

JEL Classification: H75, K42

Suggested Citation

Anderson, D. Mark and Crost, Benjamin and Rees, Daniel I., Wet Laws, Drinking Establishments, and Violent Crime. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8718, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2543912

D. Mark Anderson (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Economics ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Benjamin Crost

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

1301 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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