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. 

Jeffrey DeSimone, 30 May 2010

It is commonly acknowledged that heavy alcohol consumers are more likely to be having sex. This column examines carefully the causal link from drinking to sex on US college campuses. After accounting for other potential co-determinants, the evidence suggests that binge drinking is unlikely to be the trigger for sexual activity, but might lead to more promiscuous sex than would otherwise take place, putting students at risk of unsafe sex.

CEPR Policy Research