The abstract of recent article from the journal Economic Inquiry:
Few studies explore the linkages between health behaviors and macroeconomic outcomes. This study uses 1971–2007 state-level data from the United States to estimate the impact of beer consumption on economic growth. We document that beer consumption has negative effects on economic growth measures once the endogeneity of beer consumption is addressed. Our estimates are robust to a range of specification checks. These findings run parallel to a large body of literature documenting substantial social and economic costs stemming from alcohol use.
If we apply the same logic the FDA used to justify banning transfats, then clearly beer must be also banned. Prohibition redux.
I also have to wonder whether beer consumption is causing lower growth or whether lower growth is causing beer consumption. Or whether higher growth states are shifting from beer to wine consumption. Or whether there is some third factor, like unemployment, that drives lack of growth and beef consumption. The authors tried to address some of these questions in their analysis, but it isn't clear how well their approach controls for these problems problem.
(HT: Andreas Drichoutis)