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The Effects of Alcohol Policies in Reducing Entry Rates and Time Spent in Foster Care

Sara Markowitz, Alison Evans Cuellar, Ryan M. Conrad, Michael Grossman

NBER Working Paper No. 16915
Issued in March 2011, Revised in January 2012
NBER Program(s):Children, Health Care, Health Economics

The purpose of this paper is to empirically estimate the propensity for alcohol-related policies to influence rates of entry into foster care and the length of time spent in foster care. Alcohol consumption is believed to be major contributing factor to child maltreatment, associated with an increased likelihood of abuse and longer durations once in foster care. We analyze a panel of state-level foster care entry rates over time, followed by a duration analysis of individual-level cases. The alcohol regulations of interest include beer, wine, and liquor taxes and prices, and a measure of alcohol availability. Overall, these alcohol control policies appear to have limited power to alter foster care entry rates and duration once in care. We find that higher alcohol taxes and prices are not effective in reducing foster care entry rates, however, once in foster care, the duration of stay may be influenced with higher taxes, particularly when the entry was a result of an alcohol abusing parent.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16915

Published: Review of Economics of the Household December 2014, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 589-612 First online: 23 May 2013 Alcohol control and foster care Sara Markowitz , Alison Cuellar, Ryan M. Conrad, Michael Grossman

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