Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Macroeconomic conditions and alcohol consumption: When the economy is down, alcohol consumption goes up

Date:
October 14, 2011
Source:
University of Miami
Summary:
Previous studies have found that health outcomes improve during an economic downturn. Job loss means less money available for potentially unhealthy behaviors such as excessive drinking, according to existing literature on employment and alcohol consumption. A new study has concluded just the opposite -- heavy drinking and alcohol abuse/dependence significantly increase as macroeconomic conditions deteriorate.

Previous studies have found that health outcomes improve during an economic downturn. Job loss means less money available for potentially unhealthy behaviors such as excessive drinking, according to existing literature on employment and alcohol consumption. A new study by health economist Michael T. French from the University of Miami and his collaborators has concluded just the opposite--heavy drinking and alcohol abuse/dependence significantly increase as macroeconomic conditions deteriorate.

French and his team found that binge drinking increased with a rise in the state-level unemployment rate. Driving while intoxicated and alcohol abuse and dependence also increased for both genders and across ethnic groups. The study is relevant considering that many economists predict the unemployment rate in the United States to remain above pre-crisis levels for several years.

"The study is timely, technically advanced, and original," says French, professor of health economics, director of the Health Economics Research Group at the UM College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator of this study. "We are one of the first to show that, even though incomes decline for most people during an economic downtown, they still increase problematic or risky drinking."

The researchers analyzed data from 2001 to 2005, which is the most recent relative to existing studies. It includes a rich set of measures on alcohol consumption that were not looked at in earlier studies, such as alcohol abuse and dependence. The findings are reported online by the scientific journal Health Economics in a study titled "Macroeconomic Conditions and Excessive Alcohol Consumption."

The article indicates that even individuals who are employed have more binge drinking days and are more likely to drive after having too much to drink during a bad economy.

"The way we explain this is even though employed individuals have a job, they could be affected psychologically (e.g., fear of losing their job) from an economic downturn, leading them to have more drinking days and driving under the influence episodes as the State-level unemployment rate increases," says French.

Other interesting findings are:

  • The consequences of the unemployment rate on excessive alcohol consumption was demonstrated for all population subgroups in the study, with African-Americans and those aged between 18 and 24 years displaying the largest binge-drinking effect.
  • The number of children in the household and being married is negatively related to alcohol abuse and dependence.
  • Binge drinking is more common as the educational level and income of individuals increase.

The new study suggests that service providers for alcohol abuse programs should prepare for an increased demand for their services during an economic downturn.

Co-authors are Maria E. Davalos, senior research associate, Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, UM College of Arts and Science; and Hai Fang, assistant professor, Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marνa E. Dαvalos, Hai Fang, Michael T. French. Easing the Pain of an Economic Downturn: Macroeconomic Conditions and Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Health Economics, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/hec.1788

Cite This Page:

University of Miami. "Macroeconomic conditions and alcohol consumption: When the economy is down, alcohol consumption goes up." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013091350.htm>.
University of Miami. (2011, October 14). Macroeconomic conditions and alcohol consumption: When the economy is down, alcohol consumption goes up. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013091350.htm
University of Miami. "Macroeconomic conditions and alcohol consumption: When the economy is down, alcohol consumption goes up." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013091350.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins