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Health consequences of easier access to alcohol: New Zealand evidence

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  • Conover, Emily
  • Scrimgeour, Dean

Abstract

We evaluate the health effects of a reduction in New Zealand's minimum legal purchase age for alcohol. Difference-in-differences (DD) estimates show a substantial increase in alcohol-related hospitalizations among those newly eligible to purchase liquor, around 24.6% (s.e.=5.5%) for males and 22% (s.e.=8.1%) for females. There is less evidence of an effect among ineligible younger cohorts. There is little evidence of alcohol either complementing or substituting for drugs. We do not find evidence that earlier access to alcohol is associated with learning from experience. We also present regression discontinuity estimates, but emphasize DD estimates since in a simulation of a rational addiction model DD estimates are closer than regression discontinuity estimates to the policy's true effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 570-585

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:3:p:570-585

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Alcohol; Minimum purchase age; Youth; Health; Hospitalizations; New Zealand;

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Cited by:
  1. Jason Lindo & Peter Siminski & Oleg Yerokhin, 2014. "Breaking the Link Between Legal Access to Alcohol and Motor Vehicle Accidents: Evidence from New South Wales," Economics Working Papers wp14-02, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  2. Boes, Stefan & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "Does Changing the Legal Drinking Age Influence Youth Behaviour?," IZA Discussion Papers 7522, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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