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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Joint Impacts of Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Beer Taxes on US Youth Traffic Fatalities, 1975 to 2001
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31 (5), 804–813.

There is a considerable body of prior research indicating that a number of public policies that limit alcohol availability affect youth traffic fatalities. These limitations can be economic (e.g., beverage taxation), physical (e.g., numbers or operating hours of alcohol outlets), or demographic (e.g., minimum legal drinking age).

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 analyses 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.

These findings suggest that a community's expected benefit from a proposed limitation on alcohol availability depends on its current regulatory environment. Specifically, 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.