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Hazardous Drinking in Privatized Industrial Towns of Russia

Hazardous Drinking and High Mortality under Russian Privatization

Hazardous drinking, defined as the consumption of homemade, unofficially made alcohol and non-beverages, accounts for a high proportion of alcohol-related deaths in Russia. PERI researcher Lawrence King and co-authors argue that individual-level characteristics are important explanations of hazardous drinking, but are unlikely to explain spatial variation in this type of alcohol consumption. Considering 30 industrial towns in the European part of Russia, they find that in addition to individual-level characteristics, increased levels of hazardous alcohol consumption among both males and females was significantly higher in towns that have experienced more rapid privatization.

Abstract

Hazardous drinking, defined as the consumption of homemade, unofficially made alcohol and non-beverages, is prevalent and accounts for a high proportion of alcohol-related deaths in Russia. Individual-level characteristics are important explanations of hazardous drinking, but they are unlikely to explain spatial variation in this type of alcohol consumption. Areas that attracted insufficient attention in the research of hazardous drinking are the legacy of industrialization and the speed of economic reforms mainly through the privatization policy of major enterprises in the 1990s. Applying multilevel mixed-effects logistic regressions to a unique dataset from 30 industrial towns in the European part of Russia, we find that in addition to individual-level characteristics such as gender, age, marital status, education, social isolation, labor market status, and material deprivation, the types of towns where individuals resided such as industrial structure and speed of privatization also accounted for the variance in hazardous alcohol consumption among both males and females.

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