Department of Economics and Business Economics

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Adolescent Alcohol Access: Evidence from Denmark

Publication: ResearchWorking paper

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We exploit changes in minimum legal alcohol purchasing ages in Denmark in order to estimate effects on short- and long-term health outcomes, as well as on human capital formation. Employing a difference-in-differences approach for immediate outcomes and a “regression kink design” for long-term outcomes, we bring comprehensive evidence on the health and education effects of three reforms, which affected alcohol availability along different dimensions and margins – 1) establishing an off-premise alcohol purchase age of 15 (1998), 2) raising the off-premise alcohol purchase age to 16 (2004), and 3) increasing the purchase age of beverages exceeding 16.5% in alcohol content from 16 to 18 (2011). Our findings show significant short-term effects of the first and third reforms in terms of reducing injuries and alcohol-related conditions, and some long-term effects of the first reform in terms of reducing injuries and increasing the probability of obtaining a high-school degree. We find, however, no effects of the second reform and little impact of any of the reforms on mortality. Effects of spirits (reform 3) are driven by males, and there is no consistent evidence on differential impacts by socioeconomic status.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAarhus
PublisherInstitut for Økonomi, Aarhus Universitet
Number of pages42
StatePublished - 15 May 2017
SeriesEconomics Working Papers
Number2017-03

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