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The Long-Run Impacts of Adolescent Drinking: Evidence from Zero Tolerance Laws

Author

Listed:
  • Abboud, Tatiana

    () (University of Montreal)

  • Bellou, Andriana

    () (University of Montreal)

  • Lewis, Joshua

    () (University of Montreal)

Abstract

This paper provides the first long-run assessment of adolescent binge drinking on later- life health and labor market outcomes. Our analysis exploits cross-state variation in the rollout of "Zero Tolerance" (ZT) Laws, which set strict alcohol limits for drivers under age 21 and led to sharp reductions in youth binge drinking. We adopt a difference-in-differences approach that combines information on state and year of birth to identify individuals exposed to the laws during adolescence and tracks the evolving impacts into middle age. We find that ZT Laws led to significant improvements in later-life health. Individuals exposed to the laws during adolescence were substantially less likely to suffer from cognitive and physical limitations in their 40s. The health effects are mirrored by improved labor market outcomes. These patterns cannot be attributed to changes in educational attainment or marriage. Instead, we find that affected cohorts were substantially less likely to drink heavily by middle age, suggesting an important role for adolescent initiation and habit-formation in affecting long-term substance use.

Suggested Citation

  • Abboud, Tatiana & Bellou, Andriana & Lewis, Joshua, 2019. "The Long-Run Impacts of Adolescent Drinking: Evidence from Zero Tolerance Laws," IZA Discussion Papers 12833, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12833
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bellou, Andriana & Bhatt, Rachana, 2013. "Reducing underage alcohol and tobacco use: Evidence from the introduction of vertical identification cards," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 353-366.
    2. Anna Aizer & Shari Eli & Joseph Ferrie & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2016. "The Long-Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 935-971, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zero Tolerance Laws; binge drinking; disabilities; substance abuse;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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