Liquid Assets? The Short-Run Liabilities of Binge Drinking

Marco Francesconi, Jonathan James

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We estimate the effect of binge drinking on road accidents, accident and emergency (A&E) attendances and arrests using a variety of unique English data and a two-sample instrumental variables estimation procedure. Drinking 10+ units of alcohol in a single session increases road accidents by 18.6%, injury-related A&E attendances by 6.6% and arrests by 71%. The marginal increase from eight to 10+ alcoholic units implies nearly 6,100 extra road accidents every year, 63,000 additional A&E attendances and 100,000 additional arrests. The externality per mile driven by a binge drinker is about five pence and the punishment that internalises this externality is equivalent to a fine of £22,800 per drunk driving arrest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2090-2136
Number of pages47
JournalThe Economic journal
Issue number621
Early online date18 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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