David Jacks, Krishna Pendakur, Hitoshi Shigeoka, 16 March 2021

The year 2020 marked the centenary of Prohibition, under which the production and sale of alcohol in the US was banned for nearly 14 years. Though it required an unprecedented intervention into the nation’s economic and social fabric, there has been little quantitative analysis of Prohibition’s impact on public health. This column presents new research suggesting that a substantial increase in infant mortality followed the repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s – an unanticipated, negative health outcome worth considering as debates resume over the legalisation of cannabis and other drugs.

CEPR Policy Research