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

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • Benjamin Yarnoff

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Kaestner & Benjamin Yarnoff, 2011. "Long-Term Effects of Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws on Adult Alcohol Use and Driving Fatalities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 325-363.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/658486
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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, April.
    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. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2006. "The Value of Health and Longevity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 871-904, October.
    7. 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, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2010. "Alcohol Regulation and Crime," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 291-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Clifford Winston, 2013. "On the Performance of the U.S. Transportation System: Caution Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 773-824, September.
    3. John Cawley & Damien de Walque & Daniel Grossman, 2017. "The Effect of Stress on Later-Life Health: Evidence from the Vietnam Draft," NBER Working Papers 23334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. D. Mark Anderson & Benjamin Hansen & Daniel I. Rees, 2013. "Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 333-369.

    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
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law

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