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

Author

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  • Ceren Ertan Yoruk
  • Baris Yoruk

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ceren Ertan Yoruk & Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Alcohol Consumption and Risky Sexual Behavior Among Young Adults: Evidence from Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws," Discussion Papers 13-11, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:13-11
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    File URL: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/2013/yoruk7.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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