Legalization of Sunday alcohol sales and alcohol consumption in the United States

Authors

  • Barış K. Yörük

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Economics, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA
    • Correspondence to: Barış K. Yörük, Department of Economics, University at Albany, State University of New York, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222, USA. E-mail: byoruk@albany.edu

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Abstract

Aims

To investigate the relationship between legalization of Sunday alcohol sales and alcohol consumption in the United States.

Design

State-level per capita consumption of beer, wine and spirits was analyzed using difference-in-differences econometric methods.

Setting

United States.

Participants

Five treatment states that repealed their laws restricting Sunday alcohol sales during 1990–2007 and 12 control states that retained their Sunday alcohol laws during the same period.

Measurements

Outcome measures are state-level per capita consumption of overall alcohol, beer, wine and spirits.

Findings

Among the states that legalized Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Mexico experienced significant increases in overall alcohol consumption (P < 0.05). However, the effect of the legalization of Sunday alcohol sales in Massachusetts and Rhode Island on per capita alcohol consumption was insignificant (P = 0.964 and P = 0.367).

Conclusions

Three out of five states in the United States that repealed their laws restricting Sunday sale of alcoholic beverages during 1990–2007 experienced significant increases in per capita alcohol consumption. This finding implies that increased alcohol availability leads to an increase in alcohol consumption.

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