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It is notoriously hard to study the effect of alcohol on decision making, given the selection that takes place in who drinks alcohol and when they choose to do so. In a controlled laboratory experiment, we study the causal effect of alcohol on economic decision making. We examine the impact of alcohol on the following types of tasks: math and logic, uncertainty, overconfidence, strategic games, food choices, anchoring, and altruism. Our results indicate that alcohol consumption, as measured by the blood alcohol concentration (BAC), increases cooperation in strategic settings and altruism in Dictator games. We do not find any effects of alcohol on individual decision making tasks with the exception of anchoring. People with higher BAC did better in the anchoring task. The results suggest that the effects of alcohol are domain specific.


Working Paper 16-03

This working paper was later published as:

Bregu, K., Deck, C., Ham, L., & Jahedi, S. (2017). The effects of alcohol use on economic decision making. Southern Economic Journal, 83(4), 886-902. doi: 10.1002/soej.12179



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