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Alcohol consumption and risky sexual behavior among young adults: evidence from minimum legal drinking age laws

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  • Ceren Ertan Yörük
  • Barış Yörük

Abstract

This paper exploits the discrete jump in alcohol consumption at the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) in the USA and uses a regression discontinuity design to investigate the relationship between drinking and risky sexual behaviors among young adults. Using confidential data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997 Cohort), we document that young adults tend to drink up to 2.1 days more once they are granted legal access to alcohol at age 21. Although the discrete jump in alcohol consumption at the MLDA is associated with an increase in the probability of having sex by up to 7.8 percentage points, it does not have a significant impact on the probability of engaging in risky sexual behaviors among young adults. We also document that the effect of the MLDA on the probability of using several different birth control methods is not significant for those who had sex in the past 4 weeks. These results are robust under alternative specifications and imply that although the MLDA law is quite effective in reducing alcohol consumption among young adults, spillover effects of this law on risky sexual behaviors are relatively limited. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Ceren Ertan Yörük & Barış Yörük, 2015. "Alcohol consumption and risky sexual behavior among young adults: evidence from minimum legal drinking age laws," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 133-157, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:28:y:2015:i:1:p:133-157
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-014-0520-1
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    2. Heckley, Gawain & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Jarl, Johan, 2018. "Too Young to Die: Regression Discontinuity of a Two-Part Minimum Legal Drinking Age Policy and the Causal Effect of Alcohol on Health," Working Papers 2018:4, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Kabir Dasgupta & Christopher Erwin & Alexander Plum, 2020. "The Devil is in the Details: Identifying the Unbiased Link between Access to Alcohol and Criminal Behavior," Working Papers 2020-12, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    4. Murphy, David M.A., 2023. "Sobriety, social capital, and village network structures," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 166(C).
    5. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Nilsson, Anton, 2020. "Legal Drinking, Injury and Harm: Evidence from the Introduction and Modifications of Age Limits in Denmark," IZA Discussion Papers 13401, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Dehos, Fabian T., 2022. "Underage access to alcohol and its impact on teenage drinking and crime," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    7. Marigee Bacolod & Jesse M. Cunha & Yu‐Chu Shen, 2020. "When young soldiers drink: The impact of legal access to alcohol among U.S. Army soldiers," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 87(2), pages 576-607, October.
    8. Kabir Dasgupta & Alexander Plum & Christopher Erwin, 2022. "The Devil is in the Details: Identifying Unbiased Link between Alcohol Purchasing Rights and Youth Delinquency," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 84(6), pages 1380-1431, December.
    9. Dehos, Fabian, 2020. "Legal access to alcohol and its impact on drinking and crime," Ruhr Economic Papers 884, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Jungtaek Lee & Baris K. Yörük, 2014. "Does Legalization of Sunday Alcohol Sales Increase Crime?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5065, CESifo.
    11. Baggio, Michele & Chong, Alberto & Simon, David, 2020. "Sex, marijuana and baby booms," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    12. Briggs Depew & Jacob Meyer, 2023. "Legal access to alcohol and automobile accidents: Potential interactive effects of alcohol and drug consumption," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 338-353, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alcohol consumption; Minimum legal drinking age; Risky sexual behavior; Sexual activity; I10; I18; J13;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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