Wet Laws, Drinking Establishments and Violent Crime

D. Mark Anderson, Benjamin Crost, Daniel I. Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on county-level data from Kansas for the period 1977–2011, we examine whether plausibly exogenous increases in the number of establishments licensed to sell alcohol by the drink are related to violent crime. During this period, 86 out of 105 counties in Kansas voted to legalise the sale of alcohol to the general public for on-premises consumption. Using legalisation as an instrument, we show that a 10% increase in drinking establishments is associated with a 3–5% increase in violent crime. The estimated relationship between drinking establishments and property crime is also positive, although smaller in magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1366
Number of pages34
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number611
StatePublished - Jun 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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