Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An economic dilemma

Here’s a non-typical blog post from me today. Sorry to bore y’all. This is the economics major coming out in me. Please feel free to skip this article and return to the care-free blog posts that I am sure will resume shortly.

Currently, Georgia legislature has been debating Sunday alcohol sales. The House recently passed a bill to allow individual counties to vote on whether Sunday sales shall be deemed legal or not. I am from a dry, dry county that doesn’t allow liquor sales at all, so I don’t see this happening for us any time soon, but there are other counties that can reap great economic benefits in my opinion. Lots of people in Georgia tend to make this a moral or religious issue, but I tend to look at the “dollars and cents” impacts.


(Not necessarily going to happen.)

I know very well that living in a dry county doesn’t mean that I am surrounded by teetotalers—folks just drive to the next county over to get their liquor. They also just stock up on beer on Saturday to have their Sunday beer needs fulfilled. Morally or religiously, it doesn’t impact me. So there you go.


(Typical Saturday grocery store cart)

I’m about to blow someone’s mind here. This was from my senior economics project that I entered into a national economics competition and won third place with. I have drilled down my entire semester’s worth of work into one paragraph.

Based on empirical research, there is a significant increase in the number of restaurants that sell alcoholic beverages based on availability of Sunday sales. On average, 90.91% of the states that allow Sunday sales have more than half of restaurants that also serve alcoholic beverages. This is a substantial increase from the 60% in states that do not permit Sunday alcohol sales. On average, a one percentage point increase in the percent of restaurants that sell alcohol as well as food increases alcohol sales by $1,341,802.68, nation-wide, all else equal. This by far has the greatest effect on alcohol sales of any of the variables tested.


Basically? If Georgia’s Sunday alcohol sales contribute to a 1% increase in just restaurants  selling alcohol (not accounting for liquor stores and grocery stores because I argued that regular imbibers just make their purchases the day before), alcohol sales will increase by roughly $1.3 million. That’s a lot of taxes pouring back into the State of Georgia. Pretty impressive to me.

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