The Effect of a Sunday Liquor-Sales Ban Repeal on Crime: A Triple-Difference Analysis

In Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, SeungHoon Han, Charles Branas and John MacDonald investigate whether alcohol availability in state-run liquor stores affects a neighborhood’s crime rates, and if the relationship between alcohol availability and crime differs based on a neighborhood’s socioeconomic status (SES).  In 2003, Pennsylvania repealed the Sunday alcohol-sales ban for a portion of its state-run stores. The authors utilized this policy change for their analysis. They find that the repeal was associated with a significant increase in total and property-crime incidents occurring around Sunday-open state liquor stores in neighborhoods with a low SES. The repeal did not have a significant effect on violent crime. The authors also examined whether the lifting of the sales-ban increased crime in adjacent areas and find no significant displacement of crime.