Alexander Ahammer, Stefan Bauernschuster, Martin Halla, Hannah Lachenmaier, 27 March 2021

Teenage binge drinking is more prevalent in Europe than in the US, where alcohol is forbidden to people under the age of 21. This column looks at the relationship between minimum legal drinking ages and alcohol abuse. Using administrative health and survey data from Austria, it finds significantly increased alcohol consumption – particularly among boys and those from underprivileged backgrounds – when drinking becomes legal. Raising the minimum legal drinking age in Europe could reduce alcohol poisonings and the early socioeconomic gradient in teenage binge drinking. 

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