Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Love Thy Neighbor? States That Lower Drinking Age Hurt Others

Date:
July 1, 2008
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
States currently considering reducing the drinking age aren't doing their neighbors any favors. While opponents contend that dropping the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18 or 19 will lead to more alcohol-related teen traffic deaths in those affected states, a University of Michigan researcher says that lowering the age requirement will cause fatal crash rates to increase in neighboring states, as well.

States currently considering reducing the drinking age aren't doing their neighbors any favors.

While opponents contend that dropping the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18 or 19 will lead to more alcohol-related teen traffic deaths in those affected states, a University of Michigan researcher says that lowering the age requirement will cause fatal crash rates to increase in neighboring states, as well.

New research by U-M economist Joel Slemrod of the Ross School of Business and colleague Michael Lovenheim of Stanford University shows that 18- and 19-year-old drivers who live in another state—but within 25 miles of a state with a lower drinking age—are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

"The availability of different policies just across the border—be they lower excise taxes or the legal sale of fireworks—can compromise the impact of a jurisdiction's own policies and cause efficiency costs as consumers pursue the goods," said Slemrod, professor of business economics and public policy.

"In the case of legalized drinking, being able to drink legally across the border has an additional implication for social costs because the act of drinking and then driving home drunk can itself be dangerous, even fatal, both to the cross-border consumers and other unfortunate drivers and pedestrians."

In their study, Slemrod and Lovenheim evaluated the effect of states' different minimum legal drinking ages on alcohol-related traffic deaths since 1977. For the years after 1987, when 21 became the legal drinking age in all 50 states, their analysis focused on states bordering Canada and Mexico.

The researchers found that raising the legal drinking age to 21 has resulted in about 5 percent fewer drunk-driving fatal crashes for 18-year-olds and about 4 percent fewer for 19-year-olds.

However, in counties within 25 miles of a bordering state with a lower minimum drinking age, the likelihood of an 18-year-old being involved in a fatal crash increases 0.5 percent. For 19-year-olds, the rate increase is 0.1 percent.

"While the effects are more muted for 19-year-olds, the results for both 18- and 19-year olds are consistent with teens evading alcohol restrictions by driving to states where they can legally purchase alcohol," said Slemrod, who also notes there is little evidence of a "cross-border" effect on 20-year-olds.

Overall, the researchers say that previous studies have underestimated the total effect of increases in the legal drinking age.

"That unequal restrictions across unmonitored borders can induce the very behaviors the restrictions are meant to eliminate is well documented with respect to cigarettes," Slemrod said. "When the behavior in question is teenage drunk driving, evasion itself can exact a toll in terms of lives."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Love Thy Neighbor? States That Lower Drinking Age Hurt Others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630111816.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2008, July 1). Love Thy Neighbor? States That Lower Drinking Age Hurt Others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630111816.htm
University of Michigan. "Love Thy Neighbor? States That Lower Drinking Age Hurt Others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630111816.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins