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Drinkers, Drivers, and Bartenders

Balancing Private Choices and Public Accountability

According to the United States Public Health Service, over 100,000 deaths a year are attributable to alcohol, including 20,000 highway fatalities. In response, legislatures have enacted various forms of regulation intended both to reduce alcohol consumption and to curb its harmful effects. This groundbreaking study focuses on one such form of regulation, the liability imposed on alcohol servers and social hosts by tort law. Basing their analysis on important new data from their extensive research and in-depth interviews with actors on all sides of the issue, the authors conclude that, despite their relative unpopularity, tort laws are very effective in reducing accidents—even more than criminal sanctions.

Extraordinary in scope and exacting in detail, Drinkers, Drivers, and Bartenders: Balancing Private Choices and Public Accountability links alcohol problems, deterrence, and serving practices in a way no other work has been able to do and is certain to become a crucial reference point for researchers and policymakers alike.

308 pages | 2 halftones, 26 line drawings, 73 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2000

Economics and Business: Health Economics

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Economics

Political Science: Public Policy

Sociology: Criminology, Delinquency, Social Control

Table of Contents

1. Setting the Stage
Production and Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages
Social Cost of Excessive Use of Alcohol
Drunk Driving in the United States
Political Responses to the Problem
Drinking and Driving and Government Policy: An Analytic Framework
Social Control
Public Health and Alcohol Control
Overview of the Book
2. Administrative Regulation of Alcohol Consumption
Rationale for Administrative Law
Chapter Overview
Evolution of Alcoholic Beverage Control Regulation
Structure of Alcoholic Beverage Control Regulation in the Late 1990s
Benefits and Costs of Administrative Regulation of Sellers of Alcoholic Beverages: Concepts
Empirical Evidence on Benefits versus Costs of Administrative Regulation: Previous Studies
Empirical Evidence on Benefits versus Costs of Administrative Regulation: New Empirical Evidence
3. Criminal Liability for Illegal Alcohol Service
Types of Acts Covered under Criminal Law
Goals of Criminal Law
The Economics of Crime and Optimal Criminal Sanctions
Empirical Tests of Crime as a Rational Choice
Behavior of Law Enforcement Agencies and the Courts
Criminal Law and Incentives of Commercial Alcohol Servers
Relation between Objective Measures of Police Department Resources and Risk Perceptions of Owners or Managers of Bars
4. Tort Liability and the Drunk Driver
Consequences of Drunk Driving
Identifying Drunk Drivers
Using Tort Liability to Control Drunk Drivers
Tort versus Other Forms of Regulation
Individual Drivers’ Incentives for Preventing Accidents
Effects of Liability Insurance
Alternative Liability Rules
Evidence That Tort Deters Careless Driving
5. Imposing Tort Liability on Commercial Servers
Rationale for Dram Shop Liability
Chapter Overview
Where Do Drunk Drivers Obtain Their Alcohol?
Types of Liability
Evolution of Dram Shop Liability as an Instrument for Controlling Drinking and Driving
Status of Dram Shop Liability in the Late 1990s
Review of Empirical Evidence on Dram Shop Liability
New Empirical Evidence on Dram Shop Liability
6. Liability Insurance for Commercial Servers
Functions of Liability Insurance and the Decision to Purchase It
Background on Dram Shop Liability Insurance
Policies and Practices of Dram Shop Insurers
Industry Structure
State Regulation of Liquor Liability Insurance
Demand for Dram Shop Insurance
7. Effects of Administrative, Criminal, and Tort Liability on Server Behavior
Commercial Servers’ Self-Reports of Actions Likely to Increase or Reduce the Effects of Heavy Drinking
8. Monitoring by Bartenders and Servers
Survey of Employees
Characteristics of Bartenders and Servers
Serving Practices
Bartenders’ and Servers’ Perceptions of Server Training
Effects of the Threat of Liability and Other Factors on "Responsible" and "Irresponsible" Server Behavior
9. Effects of Regulation on Drinking and on Alcohol-Related Auto Accident Death Rates
Chapter Overview
Analysis of Drinking Behavior: Data
Analysis of Drinking Behavior: Empirical Specification
Conceptual Framework
Analysis of Drinking Behavior: Results
Analysis of Motor Vehicle Fatalities: Data and Empirical Specifications
Analysis of Motor Vehicle Fatalities: Results
10. Conclusions and Policy Implications
Major Findings
Policy Implications
Unresolved Issues and Agenda for Future Research
Appendix: Design of our Surveys
Survey of Commercial Servers
Survey of Employees
Survey of State Alcoholic Beverage Commissions
Survey of Police Departments
Survey of State Departments of Insurance
Survey of Dram Shop Insurers
Author Index
Subject Index

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