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Alcohol Consumption and Risky Sexual Behavior Among Young Adults: Evidence from Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws

Listed author(s):
  • Ceren Ertan Yoruk
  • Baris Yoruk

This paper exploits the discrete jump in alcohol consumption at the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) in the United States and uses a regression discontinuity design to investigate the relationship between drinking and risky sexual behavior among young adults. Using confidential data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997 Cohort), we document that young adults tend to drink up to 2.1 days more once they are granted legal access to alcohol at age 21. Under certain model specifications, we find that the discrete jump in alcohol consumption at the MLDA is associated with an increase in the probability of having sex by up to 8.3 percentage points. However, we also find that young adults, who gain legal access to alcohol at age 21, do not have a tendency to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Furthermore, we document that the effect of the MLDA on the probability of using several different birth control methods is not significant for those who had sex in the past four weeks. Our results are robust to alternative sample and model selections and imply that although the MLDA law is quite effective in reducing alcohol consumption among young adults, spillover effects of this law on risky sexual behaviors are relatively limited.

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File URL: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/2013/yoruk7.pdf
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Paper provided by University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 13-11.

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Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:13-11
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.

Phone: (518) 442-4735
Fax: (518) 442-4736

Order Information: Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
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  1. Jeffrey A. Miron & Elina Tetelbaum, 2009. "Does The Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 317-336, 04.
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  3. Yörük, BarIs K. & Yörük, Ceren Ertan, 2011. "The impact of minimum legal drinking age laws on alcohol consumption, smoking, and marijuana use: Evidence from a regression discontinuity design using exact date of birth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 740-752, July.
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  8. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
  9. 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.
  10. Sen, Bisakha, 2002. "Does alcohol-use increase the risk of sexual intercourse among adolescents? Evidence from the NLSY97," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1085-1093, November.
  11. Michael Grossman & Sarah Markowitz, 2005. "I Did What Last Night? Adolescent Risky Sexual Behaviors and Substance Abuse," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 383-405, Summer.
  12. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  13. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2011. "The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Public Health," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 133-156, Spring.
  14. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2011. "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 987-1027.
  15. Shao-Hsun Keng & Wallace Huffman, 2010. "Erratum to: Binge drinking and labor market success: a longitudinal study on young people," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(2), pages 833-833, March.
  16. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "The Effects of Minimum Legal Drinking Ages on Teen Childbearing," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(4), pages 823-838.
  17. Ertan Yörük, Ceren & Yörük, Barış K., 2012. "The impact of drinking on psychological well-being: Evidence from minimum drinking age laws in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(10), pages 1844-1854.
  18. Chesson, Harrell & Harrison, Paul & Kassler, William J, 2000. "Sex Under the Influence: The Effect of Alcohol Policy on Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates in the United States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 215-238, April.
  19. Rashad, Inas & Kaestner, Robert, 2004. "Teenage sex, drugs and alcohol use: problems identifying the cause of risky behaviors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 493-503, May.
  20. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
  21. Carpenter, Christopher, 2005. "Youth alcohol use and risky sexual behavior: evidence from underage drunk driving laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 613-628, May.
  22. Lovenheim, Michael F. & Slemrod, Joel, 2010. "The fatal toll of driving to drink: The effect of minimum legal drinking age evasion on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 62-77, January.
  23. Rees, Daniel I. & Argys, Laura M. & Averett, Susan L., 2001. "New evidence on the relationship between substance use and adolescent sexual behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 835-845, September.
  24. Steven F. Kreft & Nancy M. Epling, 2007. "Do border crossings contribute to underage motor-vehicle fatalities? An analysis of Michigan border crossings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(3), pages 765-781, August.
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