Matthias Bäuml, Jan Marcus, Thomas Siedler
Excessive alcohol consumption is a major health risk and its prevalence has increased in many countries in the last decades. The German state of Baden-Württemberg implemented a novel policy measure to curb excessive drinking: In March 2010, it banned the sale of alcoholic beverages between 10 pm and 5 am at off-premise outlets (e.g., gas stations, supermarkets, kiosks). On-premise outlets as well as other times of the day were not affected by the law, so the policy change is a rather “light touch” regulation compared to other alcohol control policies. Marcus & Siedler (Journal of Public Economics 2015, 123, 55–77; MS2015 in the following) analyze consequences of this reform and find that the late-night ban on off-premise alcohol sales reduced alcohol-related hospitalizations among young people by about 7%. We extend this analysis in various dimensions. First, while MS2015 only use the main diagnosis, our data includes information on all diagnoses. Second, the exact date and time of hospitalizations is available in our data. Third, our data does not only include the three digit ICD-10 codes as in MS2015 but also the fourth digit, allowing to further differentiate between various types of alcohol-related hospitalizations. Fourth, while MS2015 can only look at the short-term consequences of the reform (up to 2011), we can investigate the dynamics of the reform and longer-term effects (up to 2013). Fifth, we can resort to information on the full population. We find that the late-night off-premise alcohol sales ban is effective at reducing alcohol-related hospitalizations among young people. As adolescence and young adulthood are often seen as key ages for the prevention of alcoholism, our findings are likely to be informative for policy debates.
Marcus, J., & Siedler, T. (2015). Reducing binge drinking? The effect of a ban on late-night off-premise alcohol sales on alcohol-related hospital stays in Germany. Journal of Public Economics, 123, 55–77.