Joint Impacts of Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Beer Taxes on US Youth Traffic Fatalities, 1975 to 2001

This article reports on research undertaken to investigate the impacts of minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) legislation and taxes on beer on youth traffic fatalities in the United States between 1975 and 2001. The authors describe the underlying "full-price" theoretical model that suggests that people weigh the benefits of drinking against the sum of all the associated costs, including the price of the beverages themselves plus the difficulty of obtaining them and any additional risks of injury or punishment related to their use. This study tested one prediction of this model, namely that the impact from changing one availability-related cost depends on the level of other components of full cost. The authors investigated the interdependence between the impacts of MLDA and taxes using a panel of 48 US states (1975 to 2001). The analyses of the data showed that raising either MLDA or beer taxes in isolation led to fewer youth traffic fatalities. As expected, a given change in MLDA causes a larger proportional change in fatalities when beer taxes are low than when they are high. The authors conclude therefore that a community's expected benefit from a proposed limitation on alcohol availability depends on its current regulatory environment. For example, communities with relatively strong existing policies might expect smaller impacts than suggested by prior research, while places with weak current regulations might expect larger benefits from the same policy initiative.

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  • Authors:
    • Ponicki, William R
    • Gruenewald, Paul J
    • LaScala, Elizabeth A
  • Publication Date: 2007-5


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01050105
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2007 8:53AM