The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russia's Mortality Crisis
NBER Working Paper No. 18589
Issued in December 2012
NBER Program(s): AG DEV HC HE
Political and economic transition is often blamed for Russia’s 40% surge in deaths between 1990 and 1994. Highlighting that increases in mortality occurred primarily among alcohol-related causes and among working-age men (the heaviest drinkers), this paper investigates an alternative explanation: the demise of the 1985-1988 Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign. Using archival sources to build a new oblast-year data set spanning 1978-2000, we find a variety of evidence suggesting that the campaign’s end explains a large share of the mortality crisis – implying that Russia’s transition to capitalism and democracy was not as lethal as commonly suggested.
The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.
You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.
- Christina Gathmann & Marijke Welisch, 2012. "The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russiaâs Mortality Crisis," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(4), pages 62-68, December.
- Jay Bhattacharya & Christina Gathmann & Grant Miller, 2013. "The Gorbachev Anti-alcohol Campaign and Russia's Mortality Crisis," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 232-60, April.
This paper is available as PDF (1198 K) or via email.
Acknowledgments and Disclosures
Machine-readable bibliographic record -