Latest Release: Intemperate Spirits: Economic Adaptation During Prohibition

ebook and hardcover released August 2019


Using the basic economic principle of making decisions using a cost-benefit framework—and how changes in one or the other can result in a different decision—this book uncovers how various groups responded to incentives provided by the Prohibition legislation. Using this calculus, it is clear that even criminals are rational characters, responding to incentives and opportunities provided by the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act.  The book begins with a broad look at the adaptations of the law’s targets: the wine, beer, and liquor industries.  It then turns to specific people (Violators, Line Tip-Toers, Enablers, and Hypocrites), sharing their stories of economic adaptation to bring economic lessons to life.  Due to its structure, the book can be read in parts or as a whole and is suitable for short classroom reading assignments or individual pleasure reading. 

About Me

My name is Alice Louise Kassens. I live in Southwestern Virginia with my husband Michael and our four dogs (Millie, Lily, Macy, and Zoey) where we both teach economics at Roanoke College. I am the John S. Shannon Professor of Economics and starting my 17th year at the College. I am from Wilmington, North Carolina, a place that I visit often and is home to many friends and family members.

I wear many hats as an economist. In addition to teaching, I serve on various committees and publish regularly. Until 2019, I published solely academic work including journal articles and chapters in edited volumes. I am excited to branch out into a less formal (stuffy) writing style starting with Intemperate Spirits. Do you have an exciting topic for my next book? Send me an email and let me know.


221 College Lane
Salem, VA 24153

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See my CV here