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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do designated drivers and workplace policies effect alcohol consumption?

Is there a link between designated driver usage and alcohol consumption? We hypothesize that the use of a designated driver lowers the cost of drinking which, in turn, increases alcohol consumption.

We examine the effect on drinking intensity (which incorporates low levels of alcohol use) and binge drinking (which measures greater alcohol use), using a proxy for designated driver usage.

If workplace rules forbid alcohol use for safety or other reasons, a large potential cost of drinking is the possible job loss (or other penalty) incurred if an employed person tests positive for alcohol.

We add variables to our model related to workplace policies on alcohol use by workers to ascertain if designated drivers still influence drinking.

We test these hypotheses utilizing a large dataset from the 2006 and 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) which includes several measures of alcohol use, in addition to a host of other correlates.

Findings reveal that our proxy for designated driver use increases the incidence of drinking and the results hold even after controlling for workplace alcohol testing.

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