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Do Youths Substitute Alcohol and Marijuana? Some Econometric Evidence

  • Frank J. Chaloupka
  • Adit Laixuthai

Data from the 1982 and 1989 Monitoring the Future Surveys are used to examine the substitutability of alcoholic beverages and marijuana among youths. Beer prices and minimum legal drinking ages are used as measures of the full price of alcohol, while an indicator of marijuana decriminalization and its money price capture the full price of marijuana. Results indicate that drinking frequency and heavy drinking episodes are negatively related to beer prices, but positively related to the full price of marijuana. The implications of this substitution for one of the consequences of youth substance abuse, driving while intoxicated, is examined using information on youth non-fatal accidents taken from the surveys and on youth fatal motor vehicle accidents constructed from the Fatal Accident Reporting System. These results indicate that the net effect of an increase in the full price of alcoholic beverages on the probability of a youth traffic crash is negative. However, the opposite is found for marijuana. That is, the results imply that the reduction in accidents resulting from substitution away from alcoholic beverages and other intoxicating substances to marijuana as its full price is lower more than offsets the increase in accidents related to marijuana use.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4662.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4662.

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Date of creation: Feb 1994
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Publication status: published as Chaloupka, Frank J. and Adit Laixuthai. "Do Youths Substitute Alcohol And Marijuana? Some Econometric Evidence," Eastern Economic Journal, 1997, v23(3,Summer), 253-276.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4662
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  1. Coate, Douglas & Grossman, Michael, 1988. "Effects of Alcoholic Beverage Prices and Legal Drinking Ages on Youth Alcohol Use," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 145-71, April.
  2. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Adit Laixuthai, 1993. "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," NBER Working Papers 4385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-86, January.
  4. John DiNardo & Thomas Lemieux, 1992. "Alcohol, Marijuana, and American Youth: The Unintended Effects of Government Regulation," NBER Working Papers 4212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Henry Saffer & Michael Grossman, 1986. "Beer Taxes, the Legal Drinking Age, and Youth Motor Vehicle Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 1914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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