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An Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Policies on Youth Risky Sexual Behaviors


  • Sara Markowitz
  • Robert Kaestner
  • Michael Grossman


The problems of teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and the high rates of other sexually transmitted diseases among youth have lead to widespread concern with the sexual behaviors of teenagers. Alcohol use is one of the most commonly cited correlates of risky sexual behavior. The purpose of this research is to investigate the causal role of alcohol in determining sexual activity and risky sexual behavior among teenagers and young adults. This research also addresses the question of whether there are public policies that can reduce the risky sexual behavior that results in harmful consequences. Individual and aggregate level data are used to investigate these questions. Results show that alcohol use appears to have no causal influence in determining whether or not a teenage has sex. However, alcohol use may lower contraception use among sexually active teens.

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  • Sara Markowitz & Robert Kaestner & Michael Grossman, 2005. "An Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Policies on Youth Risky Sexual Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 11378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11378
    Note: CH HE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Grossman & Robert Kaestner & Sara Markowitz, 2004. "Get High and Get Stupid: The Effect of Alcohol and Marijuana Use on Teen Sexual Behavior," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 413-441, September.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    4. Michael Grossman & Robert Kaestner & Sara Markowitz, 2004. "An Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol Policies on Youth STDs," NBER Working Papers 10949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2016. "Smokers’ Preference for Divorce and Extramarital Sex," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 59(2), pages 44-76.
    2. Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Vanin, 2013. "Bowling alone, drinking together," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1635-1672, June.
    3. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Smokers’ Sexual Behavior and Their Satisfaction with Family Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 1229-1247, September.
    4. Seth Richards‐Shubik, 2015. "Peer effects in sexual initiation: Separating demand and supply mechanisms," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), pages 663-702, November.
    5. Inna Cintina, 2015. "The effect of minimum drinking age laws on pregnancy, fertility, and alcohol consumption," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 1003-1022, December.
    6. L. Corazzini & A. Filippin & P. Vanin, 2014. "Economic Behavior under Alcohol Influence: An Experiment on Time, Risk, and Social Preferences," Working Papers wp944, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Pinka Chatterji & Jeffrey DeSimone, 2006. "High School Alcohol Use and Young Adult Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ruhm, Christopher J. & Jones, Alison Snow & McGeary, Kerry Anne & Kerr, William C. & Terza, Joseph V. & Greenfield, Thomas K. & Pandian, Ravi S., 2012. "What U.S. data should be used to measure the price elasticity of demand for alcohol?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 851-862.
    9. repec:eee:irlaec:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:15-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Katarina Nordblom, 2011. "The complex attitudes to alcohol taxation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(24), pages 3355-3364.
    11. Fertig, Angela R. & Watson, Tara, 2009. "Minimum drinking age laws and infant health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 737-747, May.
    12. Anderson, D. Mark & Sabia, Joseph J., 2016. "Child Access Prevention Laws, Youth Gun Carrying, and School Shootings," IZA Discussion Papers 9830, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Resul Cesur & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2014. "Who Pays The Bar Tab? Beer Consumption And Economic Growth In The United States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 477-494, January.
    14. Mullins, Michelle & Milyo, Jeffrey & Sykuta, Michael E., 2006. "Regulating for Public Health: Motivations for and Efficacy of State Alcohol Regulations," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21176, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    15. Christine Piette Durrance, 2013. "The Effects Of Increased Access To Emergency Contraception On Sexually Transmitted Disease And Abortion Rates," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1682-1695, July.
    16. Ho, Shuay-Tsyr & Qu, Mingyang & Rickard, Bradley & Costanigro, Marco & McLaughlin, Edward, 2016. "Retail Alcohol Availability and Product Diversity," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235913, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Ou Yang & Xueyan Zhao & Preety Srivastava, 2016. "Binge Drinking and Antisocial and Unlawful Behaviours in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 222-240, June.
    18. Chatterji, Pinka & Alegria, Margarita & Takeuchi, David, 2011. "Psychiatric disorders and labor market outcomes: Evidence from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 858-868.
    19. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2014. "Lead Exposure and Behavior: Effects on Antisocial and Risky Behavior among Children and Adolescents," NBER Working Papers 20366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. May Luong & Anindya Sen, 2006. "Sex, Teen Pregnancies, STDs, and Beer Prices: Empirical Evidence from Canada," Working Papers 06001, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2006.
    21. Waddell, Glen R., 2010. "Gender and the Influence of Peer Alcohol Consumption on Adolescent Sexual Activity," IZA Discussion Papers 4880, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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