The Political Economy of Drug and Alcohol Regulation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Forthcoming, Southern Economic Journal

54 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2020 Last revised: 27 Jan 2021

See all articles by Audrey Redford

Audrey Redford

Western Carolina University - College of Business

Angela K. Dills

Western Carolina University

Date Written: January 22, 2021

Abstract

States tightly regulate access to alcohol and other substances. During the pandemic and related state of emergency, state and federal governments adopted a variety of regulations affecting this access. State shelter-in-place orders included decisions about whether liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses. Decisions about telehealth access to medical marijuana or treatments for substance use disorders were made at the state and federal levels. This paper examines the political economy behind these decisions, focusing on deviations from the norm including Pennsylvania’s decision to close state-run liquor stores. Interest groups and other political considerations help explain state and federal policy changes affecting access to alcohol and other substances.

Keywords: rent-seeking, public unions, alcohol policy, bureaucracy, public choice, COVID-19, illicit drug policy, unintended consequences, interventionism

JEL Classification: D72, D73, I18, H75

Suggested Citation

Redford, Audrey and Dills, Angela K., The Political Economy of Drug and Alcohol Regulation During the COVID-19 Pandemic (January 22, 2021). Forthcoming, Southern Economic Journal, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3728996 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3728996

Audrey Redford (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University - College of Business ( email )

United States

Angela K. Dills

Western Carolina University ( email )

Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States
8282273329 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.wcu.edu/akdills

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