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The Effect of Closing Hour Restrictions on Alcohol Use and Abuse in Russia

The Effect of Closing Hour Restrictions on Alcohol Use and Abuse in Russia

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 8 (no. 3),

Since 2006 onward various regions have been putting and toughening local regulations for alcohol sale hours. The effect of these policies is uncertain in a specific social and economic environment featured by poor observance of the law; long tradition of the excessive consumption of strong spirits; and significant supply of home-made or surrogate alcoholic beverages. This paper uses on the data from the RLMS for 2005-2012 to discuss the effect of the restriction of trading hours on the use of alcoholic beverages falling under the restriction, as well as the substitution effect for the beverages not under the restriction. The adult respondents were broken into the treatment group and control group assuming that the former was more sensitive to the hour restriction. The hypotheses tested are that these policies decrease the use of factory-made vodka and increase the use of home-made vodka (samogon) and factory-made light beverages. Overall use, binge drinking, and the consumption of vodka, samogon, beer, and wine were examined. The paper discusses the existing estimates of the econometric specification difference-in-differences designed for testing the hypotheses. The conclusions are that the sales restrictions led to a decrease of factory-made vodka consumption and its partial substitution by samogon for people most exposed to the restriction.

Keywords: closing hours; alcohol policy; substitution effect; differences-in-differences.

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