Alcohol and Short-Run Mortality: Evidence from a Modern-Day Prohibition
56 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020
Date Written: November 14, 2020
On July 13, 2020 a complete nation-wide ban was placed on the sale and transport of alcohol in South Africa. This paper evaluates the impact of this sudden and unexpected five-week alcohol prohibition on mortality due to unnatural causes. We find that the policy reduced the number of unnatural deaths by 21 per day, or approximately 740 over the five-week period. This constitutes a 14% decrease in the total number of deaths due to unnatural causes. We argue that this represents a lower bound on the impact of alcohol on short-run mortality, and underscores the severe influence that alcohol has on society—even in the short-run.
Keywords: Health, economics, alcohol, mortality, South Africa, violence, COVID-19
JEL Classification: I18, I12, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation