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The American Temperance Movement and Market-Based Violence

Emily Owens ()

American Law and Economics Review, 2014, vol. 16, issue 2, 433-472

Abstract: The net impact of market legality on crime is ambiguous if consumption of the illegally traded good causes violence. With modern crime data, I show that drug control policy that increases market-based violence while reducing violence associated with intoxication raises homicide rates for individuals in their 20s relative to older and younger people. Using a state-level panel of age-specific homicides from 1900 to 1940, when many states and eventually the federal government criminalized alcohol markets, I demonstrate that the spread of the temperance movement similarly compressed the age distribution of homicide victims, primarily in northern, urban states with large immigrant populations.

Date: 2014
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American Law and Economics Review is currently edited by Hon. Richard A. Posner

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