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Driving Under the Influence of Our Fathers




This paper studies intergenerational correlations in drunk driving between fathers and their children using the Stockholm Birth Cohort. We find strong evidence of an intergenerational drunk driving relationship. Cohort members who have fathers with a drunk driving record have 2.59 times higher odds of having a drunk driving conviction themselves than cohort members with non-drunk driving fathers. We then go on to investigate the underlying mechanisms that give rise to these correlations. The results provide compelling evidence that at least some of this relationship represents a behavior-specific transference from fathers to their children. Specifically, much of the raw father-child drunk driving relationship persists over and above controls for a number of potential explanations, including that the relationship is: (i) a by-product of parental alcoholism, (ii) symptomatic of a general pattern of non-law abiding behavior, (iii) attributable to inherited ability and physical characteristics, and (iv) accounted for by common background variables or social factors. We then go on to show how this mechanism may change over time. As cohort members age into adulthood, the father-child drunk driving relationship appears to be driven by a more general behavioral transference mechanism and can be accounted for by parental alcoholism and non-law abiding behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew, 2009. "Driving Under the Influence of Our Fathers," Research Papers in Economics 2009:16, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2009_0016

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    1. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew, 2009. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Explaining the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Research Papers in Economics 2009:18, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    2. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
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    5. Carpenter Christopher S & Kloska Deborah D & O'Malley Patrick & Johnston Lloyd, 2007. "Alcohol Control Policies and Youth Alcohol Consumption: Evidence from 28 Years of Monitoring the Future," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-23, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "How Dangerous Are Drinking Drivers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1198-1237, December.
    8. Philip J. Cook, 2007. "Introduction to Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control," Introductory Chapters,in: Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control Princeton University Press.
    9. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Sibling similarities and economic inequality in the US," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 685-701, July.
    10. Donald G. Freeman, 2007. "Drunk Driving Legislation And Traffic Fatalities: New Evidence On Bac 08 Laws," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 293-308, July.
    11. Corak, Miles, 2006. "Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 1993, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Carpenter Christopher & Harris Katherine, 2005. "How Do "Point Oh-Eight" (.08) BAC Laws Work?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-20, February.
    13. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frimmel, Wolfgang & Halla, Martin & Paetzold, Jörg, 2017. "The Intergenerational Causal Effect of Tax Evasion: Evidence from the Commuter Tax Allowance in Austria," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168244, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
    3. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan Olof, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital. The Role of Skills and Health," Working Papers 2012:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    4. Björklund Anders & Lindahl Lena & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "What More Than Parental Income, Education and Occupation? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, November.
    5. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Exploring the Role of Skills and Health Using Data on Adoptees and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 6099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2013. "The origins of intergenerational associations in crime: Lessons from Swedish adoption data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 68-81.
    7. Karin Hederos Eriksson & Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist & Anna Sandberg, 2016. "The importance of family background and neighborhood effects as determinants of crime," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 219-262, January.

    More about this item


    alcohol; crime; drunk driving; illegal behavior; intergenerational crime; intergenerational mobility; risky behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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