The Pharmacological Channel Revisited: Alcohol Sales Restrictions and Crime in Bogota

De Mello, Joao;
Suárez, Lucía
Apr 2013
This paper attempts to evaluate the impact on crime of the restriction of late-night alcohol sales in Bogota and quantify the causal effect of problematic alcohol consumption on different crime categories. It is found that the restriction reduced deaths and injuries in car accidents and batteries. The results are stronger in areas where the restriction was actually binding and are highly heterogeneous depending on the number of liquor stores restricted at the block level. Finally, the paper measures the impact of the restriction on alcohol consumption (the first stage, or mechanism), and quantifies the causal pharmacological impact of alcohol consumption on crime using the restriction as an instrument for problematic alcohol consumption (the second stage). The results indicate that a one standard deviation (s. d. ) increase in problematic alcohol consumption increases deaths and injuries in car accidents by 0. 51 s. d and 0. 82 s. d. respectively, and batteries by 1. 27 s. d.