The Multitude of Alehouses: The Effects of Alcohol Outlet Density on Highway Safety

Published in B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 2013

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This article reports the use of detailed panel data on alcoholic beverage outlet licensing in Texas to determine the effects of alcohol outlet density on highway safety. After controlling for county heterogeneity, county and year fixed effects, and county-specific time trends, this study shows that alcohol outlet density decreases expected alcohol-related traffic accidents and arrests for driving under the influence (DUI). The negative correlation can be explained according to the reduced travel distance between alcohol outlets and home, but this distance effect does not appear when the number of off-premise alcohol outlets increases. The empirical results of this study show that the off-premise alcohol outlet density is negatively related to the number of expected accidents and DUI arrests. These results indicate that on-premise consumption decreases according to the number of available off-premise outlets. The results also indicate that this effect originates mainly from the off-premise outlets that sell alcoholic products with a relatively low alcohol content.