Liability, risk perceptions, and precautions at bars
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Are state laws, regulatory practices, and allocation of public resources for enforcement reflected in perceptions by bar owners/managers that they will be cited or sued if they fail to exercise care? Among policies, which ones have the greatest impact on risk perceptions and, in turn, on such behaviors? We used data on laws, law enforcement, and regulations in the same areas as the bars to determine risk perceptions of bar owners/managers of threats of being sued or cited if they were to serve minors or obviously intoxicated adults. We found that many of the laws and regulations related systematically to risk perceptions of bar owners/managers. This was particularly true of tort. Precautionary measures were more likely to be taken by owners/managers when the risk was perceived to be high.