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The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age

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  • Christopher Carpenter
  • Carlos Dobkin

Abstract

We estimate the effect of alcohol consumption on mortality using the minimum drinking age in a regression discontinuity design. We find large and immediate increases in drinking at age 21, including a 21 percent increase in recent drinking days. We also find a discrete 9 percent increase in the mortality rate at age 21, primarily due to motor vehicle accidents, alcohol-related deaths, and suicides. We estimate a 10 percent increase in the number of drinking days for young adults results in a 4.3 percent increase in mortality. Our results suggest policies that reduce drinking among young adults can have substantial public health benefits. (JEL I12, I18)

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2009. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 164-182, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:164-82
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.1.164
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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    1. The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2009) in ReplicationWiki

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