Effects of alcoholic beverage prices and legal drinking ages on youth alcohol use

D. Coate, M. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


A primary purpose of this article is to investigate the sensitivity of alcoholic beverage consumption, particularly excessive consumption, to price among sixteen- through twenty-one-year-olds in the United States. We provide evidence for this important age group on the extent to which declining real alcoholic beverage excise taxes have contributed to increases in youth drinking and on the extent to which increases in real alcoholic beverage excise taxes can serve as a potent instrument in the antidrinking campaign. We also examine the effect of an increase in the legal drinking age on youth alcohol use. Our empirical research is based on the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II), which was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) between February 1976 and February 1980. It capitalizes on substantial differences in legal drinking ages among states in the period of NHANES II and on substantial differences in the prices of alcoholic beverages among states that were due primarily to differences in state excise tax rates on these beverages. We focus on teenagers and young adults in the context of the antidrinking campaign because motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of persons under the age of thirty-five, and alcohol is involved in over half of these fatal accidents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-171
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Law and Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of alcoholic beverage prices and legal drinking ages on youth alcohol use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this