Alcohol, Violence and Injury-Induced Mortality: Evidence from a Modern-Day Prohibition
85 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2022
Date Written: 2022
This paper evaluates the impact of a sudden and unexpected nation-wide alcohol sales ban in South Africa. We find that this policy causally reduced injury-induced mortality in the country by at least 14% during the five weeks of the ban. We argue that this estimate constitutes a lower bound on the true impact of alcohol on injury-induced mortality. We also document a sharp drop in violent crimes, indicating a tight link between alcohol and aggressive behaviour in society. Our results underscore the severe harm that alcohol can cause and point towards a role for policy measures that target the heaviest drinkers in society.
Keywords: alcohol, mortality, economics, health, crime, South Africa, Covid-19, violence
JEL Classification: I180, I120, K420
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation