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Are There Differential Effects of Price and Policy on College Students' Drinking Intensity?


  • Jenny Williams
  • Frank J. Chaloupka
  • Henry Wechsler


This paper investigates whether college students' response to alcohol price and policies differ according to their drinking intensity. Individual level data on drinking behavior, price paid per drink, and college alcohol policies come from the student and administrator components of the 1997 and 1999 waves of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) College Alcohol Study (CAS). Students drinking behavior is classified on the basis of the number of drinks they typically consume on a drinking occasion, and the number of times they have been drunk during the 30 days prior to survey. A generalized ordered logit model is used to determine whether key variables impact differentially the odds of drinking and the odds of heavy drinking. We find that students who faced a higher money price for alcohol are less likely to make the transition from abstainer to moderate drinker and moderate drinker to heavy drinker, and this effect is equal across thresholds. Campus bans on the use of alcohol are a greater deterrent to moving from abstainer to moderate drinker than moderate drinker to heavy drinker.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny Williams & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 2002. "Are There Differential Effects of Price and Policy on College Students' Drinking Intensity?," NBER Working Papers 8702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8702
    Note: CH HE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Asplund, Marcus & Friberg, Richard, 2002. " Food Prices and Market Structure in Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 547-566, December.
    2. Wechsler, Henry & Lee, Jae Eun & Hall, John & Wagenaar, Alexander C. & Lee, Hang, 2002. "Secondhand effects of student alcohol use reported by neighbors of colleges: the role of alcohol outlets," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 425-435, August.
    3. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1996. "Binge Drinking In College: The Impact Of Price, Availability, And Alcohol Control Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 112-124, October.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1995:85:7:921-926_1 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Preety Srivastava & Xueyan Zhao, 2010. "What Do the Bingers Drink? Micro-Unit Evidence on Negative Externalities and Drinker Characteristics of Alcohol Consumption by Beverage Types," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 29(2), pages 229-250, June.
    2. Sijbren Cnossen, 2006. "Alcohol Taxation and Regulation in the European Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 1821, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. 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.
    4. Nelson, Jon P., 2014. "Binge Drinking, Alcohol Prices, And Alcohol Taxes," Working Papers 164652, American Association of Wine Economists.
    5. Jenny Williams, 2005. "Habit formation and college students' demand for alcohol," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 119-134.
    6. Hahn, Ellen J DNS, RN & Rayens, Mary Kay PhD & Chaloupka, Frank J. PhD & Okoli, Chizimuzo T.C. BSN, RN & Yang, Jun MS, 2002. "Projected Smoking-Related Deaths Among U.S. Youth: A 2000 Update," University of California at San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education qt8j85j2ct, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UC San Francisco.
    7. Mocan Naci H. & Tekin Erdal, 2006. "Catholic Schools and Bad Behavior: A Propensity Score Matching Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, May.
    8. 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.
    9. Harris, Mark N. & Ramful, Preety & Zhao, Xueyan, 2006. "An ordered generalised extreme value model with application to alcohol consumption in Australia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 782-801, July.
    10. Preety Srivastava, 2010. "Does Bingeing Affect Earnings?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(275), pages 578-595, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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