A note on 'Economic conditions and alcohol problems'

J Health Econ. 1999 Oct;18(5):661-70. doi: 10.1016/s0167-6296(99)00005-3.


This paper reexamines the effect of the business cycle on alcohol consumption using U.S. state-level analysis introduced by Rhum [Ruhm, C.J., 1995. Economic conditions and alcohol problems. Journal of Health Economics 14, 583-603]. Using an extended panel, this analysis finds that Ruhm's estimates are biased and inconsistent due to the problem of non-stationarity in alcohol consumption and state economic condition time series. Corrected estimation using logarithmic first differences confirms Ruhm's original finding of pro-cyclical alcohol consumption, but these results, unlike Ruhm's, are robust to sample period.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / economics*
  • Data Collection
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States