Urban Mortality and the Repeal of Federal Prohibition
Federal prohibition was one of the most ambitious policy interventions in US history. However, the removal of restrictions on alcohol after 1933 was not uniform. Using a new balanced panel on annual deaths, we find that city-level repeal is associated with a 11.6% decrease in the rate of death by non-automobile accidents, a category which critically include accidental poisonings. We relate this finding to a large literature which emphasizes – but never precisely quantifies – the mortality effects of adulterated alcohol during federal prohibition. Thus, repeal likely led to a large annual reduction in accidental poisonings. However, combined with previous results showing even larger increases in infant mortality, repeal nonetheless likely had negative contemporaneous effects on public health.
David S. Jacks & Krishna Pendakur & Hitoshi Shigeoka, 2023. "Urban Mortality and the Repeal of Federal Prohibition," Explorations in Economic History, . citation courtesy of