Can Beer Taxes Affect Teen Pregnancy? Evidence Based on Teen Abortion Rates and Birth Rates
Economists have investigated the effects of increased alcohol taxes on various alcohol-related phenomena like traffic fatalities, but to my knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the effects of beer taxes on teen pregnancy outcomes, namely abortion and birth rates. The study employs state-level data for 15–19-year-old women for the years 1985, 1988, 1992, and 1996. The smallness of the panel imposes some constraints on the statistical methods used. Results indicate that higher beer taxes have statistically significant negative effects on teen abortion rates, though the magnitudes of the effects are quite small. Effects on birthrates are statistically insignificant. This suggests that increased beer taxes may help prevent some unwanted pregnancies that would typically be terminated via abortions rather than culminating in live births. However, the small magnitudes of the effects strongly caution against relying on increased beer taxes to noticeably reduce teen pregnancy rates.
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Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
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