The Effects of Alcohol Regulation on Physical Child Abuse

Sara Markowitz, Michael Grossman

NBER Working Paper No. 6629
Issued in July 1998
NBER Program(s):Health Economics, Children

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of alcohol regulation on physical child abuse. Given the established relationship between alcohol consumption and violence, the principal hypothesis to be tested is that an increase in the price of alcohol will lead to a reduction in the incidence of violence. We also examine the effects of measures of the ease of obtaining alcohol, illegal drug prices, and the socio-demographic characteristics of the parent on the incidence of child abuse. Data on violence come from the 1976 and 1985 Physical Violence in American Families surveys. We estimate a reduced form model where violence is affected by the state excise tax rate on beer and other regulatory variables, and a structural model where violence is determined partly by consumption. Both equations are estimated separately for mothers and fathers. Results indicate that increases in the beer tax may decrease the incidence of violence committed by females but not by males. This is consistent with our second finding that violence by females increases with alcohol consumption while violence by males is not sensitive to changes in consumption.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6629

Published: Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 19, no. 2 (March 2000): 271-282.

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