Economic Impact of Mexico City's Smoke-Free Law

Published in: Tobacco Control, v. 20, no. 4, July 2011, p. 273-278

Posted on RAND.org on February 02, 2011

by Carlos Manuel Guerrero Lopez, Jorge Alberto Jimenez Ruiz, Luz Myriam Reynales Shigematsu, Hugh R. Waters

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the economic impact of Mexico City's 2008 smoke-free law—The Non-Smokers' Health Protection Law on restaurants, bars and nightclubs. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We used the Monthly Services Survey of businesses from January 2005 to April 2009—with revenues, employment and payments to employees as the principal outcomes. The results are estimated using a differences-in-differences regression model with fixed effects. The states of Jalisco, Nuevo León and México, where the law was not in effect, serve as a counterfactual comparison group. RESULTS: In restaurants, after accounting for observable factors and the fixed effects, there was a 24.8% increase in restaurants' revenue associated with the smoke-free law. This difference is not statistically significant but shows that, on average, restaurants did not suffer economically as a result of the law. Total wages increased by 28.2% and employment increased by 16.2%. In nightclubs, bars and taverns there was a decrease of 1.5% in revenues and an increase of 0.1% and 3.0%, respectively, in wages and employment. None of these effects are statistically significant in multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: There is no statistically significant evidence that the Mexico City smoke-free law had a negative impact on restaurants' income, employees' wages and levels of employment. On the contrary, the results show a positive, though statistically non-significant, impact of the law on most of these outcomes. Mexico City's experience suggests that smoke-free laws in Mexico and elsewhere will not hurt economic productivity in the restaurant and bar industries.

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