Drinking is Different! Examining the Role of Locus of Control for Alcohol Consumption

40 Pages Posted: 23 May 2020 Last revised: 21 Jan 2023

See all articles by Marco Caliendo

Marco Caliendo

University of Potsdam; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Juliane Hennecke

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg; Auckland University of Technology


Unhealthy behavior can be extremely costly from a micro- and macroeconomic perspective and exploring the determinants of such behavior is highly important from an economist's point of view. We examine whether locus of control (LOC) can explain alcohol consumption as an important domain of health behavior. LOC measures how much an individual believes that she is in control of the consequences of her own actions for her life's future outcomes. While earlier literature showed that an increasing internal LOC is associated with increased health-conscious behavior in domains such as smoking, exercise or diets, we find that drinking seems to be different.Using German panel data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) we find a significant positive effect of having an internal LOC on the probability of moderate and regular drinking. We suggest and discuss two likely mechanisms for this relationship and find interesting gender dierences. While social investments play an important role for both men and women, risk perceptions are especially relevant for men.

Keywords: risk perception, health behavior, alcohol consumption, locus of control, social investment

JEL Classification: I12, D91

Suggested Citation

Caliendo, Marco and Hennecke, Juliane, Drinking is Different! Examining the Role of Locus of Control for Alcohol Consumption. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13273, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3608522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3608522

Marco Caliendo (Contact Author)

University of Potsdam ( email )

August-Bebel Strasse 89
Potsdam, 14482
+49(0)331/9773225 (Phone)
+49(0)331/9773210 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-potsdam.de/en/empwifo/news.html

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Juliane Hennecke

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg ( email )


Auckland University of Technology ( email )

AUT City Campus
Private Bag 92006
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

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