Effects of Sunday Sales Restrictions on Overall and Day-Specific Alcohol Consumption: Evidence From Canada

Publication Abstract

Carpenter, Christopher S., and Daniel Eisenberg. 2009. "Effects of Sunday Sales Restrictions on Overall and Day-Specific Alcohol Consumption: Evidence From Canada." Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 70(1): 126-133.

Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the effect of Sunday alcohol-sales policies on day-specific and overall alcohol consumption. Method: Individual-level data on overall and day-specific alcohol consumption from Canada's National Population Health Surveys, 1994-1999, were linked to province-level policy variation in whether a Sunday sales restriction was present. We compared individuals in provinces with sales restrictions with those in provinces without such restrictions, and we estimated models of day-specific and overall alcohol consumption. We used a standard cross-section model as well as a quasi-experimental approach that relied on Ontario's liberalization of Sunday sales in 1997. Results: Sunday sales were associated with a significant increase in drinking on Sundays of 7% to 15%. We found evidence of substitution away from drinking on Saturdays and no evidence for increases in overall drinking. Conclusions: Our results suggest that repealing Sunday sales prohibitions is unlikely to result in increased overall alcohol consumption, although such liberalizations may change the within-week distribution.

Country of focus: Canada.

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