Do Ridesharing Services Increase Alcohol Consumption?

43 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2019

See all articles by Jacob Burgdorf

Jacob Burgdorf

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics

Conor Lennon

University of Louisville

Keith Teltser

Georgia State University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 7, 2019

Abstract

Recent studies show ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, reduce intoxicated driving. However, ridesharing may also have negative health effects by increasing alcohol consumption. In this paper, we directly examine the effect of ridesharing on drinking activity. Our approach leverages variation in the existence and entry timing of Uber's taxi-like service, UberX, across the United States. Using self-reported measures of alcohol consumption, we estimate that UberX is associated with a 3.1% increase in the average number of drinks consumed per day, a 2.8% increase in number of drinking days per month, a 4.9% increase in the maximum number of drinks consumed on one occasion, and a 9% increase in the prevalence of heavy drinking. When we focus on areas with relatively weaker public transit options, we estimate UberX is associated with a 17.5% to 21.8% increase in instances of binge drinking. Using administrative data, we support our findings by showing that UberX is associated with a 2.4% increase in employment and a 2.3% increase in total earnings at drinking establishments. Our results imply that the net social impact of ridesharing is more complicated than the existing literature and policy debates suggest.

Keywords: Ridesharing, Uber, Alcohol Consumption, Binge Drinking, Drinking Places

JEL Classification: I12, I18, D12, L83, L91, R41

Suggested Citation

Burgdorf, Jacob and Lennon, Conor and Teltser, Keith, Do Ridesharing Services Increase Alcohol Consumption? (November 7, 2019). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 19-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3485062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3485062

Jacob Burgdorf

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Louisville, KY 40292
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/jeburgdorf/

Conor Lennon

University of Louisville ( email )

Louisville, KY 40292
United States
5028527773 (Phone)

Keith Teltser (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/kteltser

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