, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 103-113
Date: 20 Mar 2010

The effect of alcoholic beverage excise tax on alcohol-attributable injury mortalities

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Abstract

This study examines the effect of state excise taxes on different types of alcoholic beverages (spirits, wine, and beer) on alcohol-attributable injury mortalities—deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, suicides, homicides, and falls—in the United States between 1995 and 2004, using state-level panel data. There is evidence that injury deaths attributable to alcohol respond differently to changes in state excise taxes on alcohol-specific beverages. This study examines the direct relationship between injury deaths and excise taxes without testing the degree of the association between excise taxes and alcohol consumption. The study finds that beer taxes are negatively related to motor vehicle accident mortality, while wine taxes are negatively associated with suicides and falls. The positive coefficient of the spirit taxes on falls implies a substitution effect between spirits and wine, suggesting that an increase in spirit tax will cause spirit buyers to purchase more wine. This study finds no evidence of a relationship between homicides and state excise taxes on alcohol. Thus, the study concludes that injury deaths attributable to alcohol respond differently to the excise taxes on different types of alcoholic beverages.