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Long-Term Effects of Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws on Adult Alcohol Use and Driving Fatalities

  • Robert Kaestner
  • Benjamin Yarnoff

We examine whether adults’ alcohol consumption and traffic fatalities are associated with the legal drinking environment those adults experienced between the ages of 18 and 20. We find that the difference between an environment in which a person was never allowed to drink legally at those ages and one in which a person could always drink legally is associated with a 20–33 percent increase in alcohol consumption and a 10 percent increase in fatal accidents for adult males. There are no statistically significant or practically important associations between the youths’ legal drinking environment and adult females’ alcohol consumption and driving fatalities.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/658486
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658486
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 54 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 325 - 363

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/658486
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. R. Kaestner, 2000. "A note on the effect of minimum drinking age laws on youth alcohol consumption," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 315-325, 07.
  3. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: Some Issues from Behavioral Economics," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 29-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jeffrey A. Miron & Elina Tetelbaum, 2009. "Does The Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 317-336, 04.
  5. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
  6. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2005. "The Value of Health and Longevity," NBER Working Papers 11405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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