Environment and Persistence in Youthful Drinking Patterns

Philip J. Cook and Michael J. Moore

in Risky Behavior among Youths

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780226310138
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309972 | DOI:
Environment and Persistence in Youthful Drinking Patterns

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Excess drinking is associated with lost productivity, traumatic injury, early death, crime and violence, and neglect of family responsibilities. These and related concerns have long engendered public support for government regulation of the production, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Alcohol abuse by youths is a particular concern. Every state bans the sale of alcohol to those under age twenty-one. Despite this age-based prohibition, alcohol drinking is widespread among teenagers. The public response to youthful drinking includes efforts directed at both the demand for alcohol among and the supply of alcohol to young people. For the most part, the relevant economics literature has focused on supply-side interventions, especially the minimum purchase age (MPA) and alcohol excise taxes. This chapter examines the influence of the MPA and the beer excise tax on youthful drinking, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) for 1982–1985 and 1988–1989. While the chapter finds that the estimated effects of excise taxes are sensitive to specification, it shows that increasing these taxes would reduce the prevalence of binge drinking.

Keywords: alcohol drinking; binge drinking; youths; alcohol abuse; excise tax; minimum purchase age; National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

Chapter.  16743 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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