Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?

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Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?

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Title: Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?
Author: Miron, Jeffrey A.; Tetelbaum, Elina

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Citation: Miron, Jeffery A. and Elina Tetelbaum. 2009. Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives? Economic Inquiry 47(2): 317-36.
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Abstract: The minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) is widely believed to save lives by reducing traffic fatalities among underage drivers. Further, the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act, which pressured all states to adopt an MLDA of 21, is regarded as having contributed enormously to this life-saving effect. This article challenges both claims. State-level panel data for the past 30 yr show that any nationwide impact of the MLDA is driven by states that increased their MLDA prior to any inducement from the federal government. Even in early-adopting states, the impact of the MLDA did not persist much past the year of adoption. The MLDA appears to have only a minor impact on teen drinking. (JEL H11, K42).
Published Version: doi:10.1111/j.1465-7295.2008.00179.x
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [8237]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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