Long-Run Effects of Public Policies: Endogenous Alcohol Preferences and Life Expectancy in Russia

Lorenz Kueng, Evgeny Yakovlev

Research output: Working paper


We use two quasi-natural experiments in the 1980s and 1990s to identify how public policies affect important long-run outcomes by changing preferences. Large but shortlived shocks to product availability in Russia shifted young consumers’ long-run preferences from hard to light alcohol. The resulting large cohort differences in current alcohol consumption shares decades after the interventions ended explain about 60% of the recent decrease in male mortality based on both micro-level and aggregate estimates. Mortality will continue to decrease by another 23% over the next twenty years based on our analysis. Program impact evaluations that focus only on contemporaneous effects can therefore severely underestimate the total effect of such public policies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


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