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Estimating the Relationship between Alcohol Policies and Criminal Violence and Victimization

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Abstract

Violence is one of the leading social problems in both Europe and the United States. The development of appropriate public policies to curtail violence is confounded by the relationship between alcohol and violence. In this article, we estimate the propensity of alcohol control policies to reduce the perpetration and victimization of criminal violence. We measure violence with data on individual-level victimizations from the U.S. National Crime Victimization Survey. We examine the effects of a number of different alcohol control policies in reducing violent crime. These policies include the retail price of beer, drunk driving laws and penalties, keg laws and serving and selling laws. We find some evidence of a negative relationship between alcohol prices and the probability of alcohol- or drug-related assault victimizations. However, we find no strong evidence that other alcohol policies are effective in reducing violent crimes.

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