Genetic Variability, Economic Behavior and the Formation of Social Norms: The Case of European Alcohol Consumption
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Discussion Paper No. 228
22 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2005
Alcohol consumption patterns vary across Europe. Northern Europeans frequently engage in excessive drinking in social situations (EDSS), behavior less common in southern Europe. We develop a model to explore whether these behavioral differences could be rooted in genetic variations across Europe and then compounded by social reinforcement mechanisms. Our results suggest conditions exist in which EDSS can emerge as a strategy in a larger fraction of the population than is genetically predisposed to EDSS. Implications for the current effort to harmonize alcohol policy across the European Union are explored.
Keywords: genetics, substance abuse, social norms, adaptive preferences
JEL Classification: I12, Z13
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