Alcohol Policies and Highway Vehicle Fatalities

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2000 Last revised: 14 Mar 2021

See all articles by Christopher J. Ruhm

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 1995

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of beer taxes and a variety of alcohol-control policies on motor vehicle fatality rates, using fixed- effect models with data for the 48 contiguous states over the 1982 through 1988 time period. The econometric findings highlight the fragility of the parameter estimates to reasonable changes in model specifications. Special attention is paid to omitted variables biases resulting from failing to adequately control for grassroots efforts to reduce drunk driving, the enactment of other laws which simultaneously operate to reduce highway fatalities, and the economic conditions existing at the time of the legislation. In the preferred specifications, most of the regulations have little or no impact on traffic mortality. By contrast, higher beer taxes are associated with reductions in crash deaths and this result is relatively robust across specifications. These findings suggest the limited ability of further regulatory action to reduce drunk-driving but point to a potentially significant role for higher alcohol taxes.

Suggested Citation

Ruhm, Christopher J., Alcohol Policies and Highway Vehicle Fatalities (July 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5195, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225258

Christopher J. Ruhm (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States
434-924-7581 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://batten.virginia.edu/cruhm.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
100
Abstract Views
1,851
rank
319,277
PlumX Metrics