Alcohol and Short-Run Mortality: Evidence from a Modern-Day Prohibition

56 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020

See all articles by Kai Barron

Kai Barron

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Debbie Bradshaw

South African Medical Research Council - Burden of Disease Research Unit

Charles D.H. Parry

South African Medical Research Council

Rob Dorrington

University of Cape Town (UCT)

Pam Groenewald

South African Medical Research Council

Ria Laubscher

South African Medical Research Council

Richard Matzopoulos

South African Medical Research Council

Date Written: November 14, 2020

Abstract

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

Barron, Kai and Bradshaw, Debbie and Parry, Charles D.H. and Dorrington, Rob and Groenewald, Pam and Laubscher, Ria and Matzopoulos, Richard, Alcohol and Short-Run Mortality: Evidence from a Modern-Day Prohibition (November 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3744031 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3744031

Kai Barron (Contact Author)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

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

Debbie Bradshaw

South African Medical Research Council - Burden of Disease Research Unit

South Africa

Charles D.H. Parry

South African Medical Research Council ( email )

296 Umbilo Rd.
Durban 4000
South Africa

Rob Dorrington

University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

Pam Groenewald

South African Medical Research Council ( email )

296 Umbilo Rd.
Durban 4000
South Africa

Ria Laubscher

South African Medical Research Council ( email )

296 Umbilo Rd.
Durban 4000
South Africa

Richard Matzopoulos

South African Medical Research Council ( email )

296 Umbilo Rd.
Durban 4000
South Africa

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