Evidence and Evaluation: The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984
47 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2011 Last revised: 13 Aug 2019
Date Written: September 13, 2011
When considering federal legislation to encourage states to raise the drinking age to twenty-one, public officials faced a common problem: assessing the efficacy of a proposed policy change from evidence that is deficient in quality and quantity. These deficiencies mandated a discerning evaluation of the evidence, but instead the opposite occurred: a consensus that inflated, rather than dampened, the overly-optimistic estimates of existing studies. This outcome, which is not limited to this legislation, can be explained by three structural factors, organizational, intellectual, and process, which can be ameliorated to some extent by methodological and institutional reforms.
Keywords: drunk driving, traffic safety legislation, policy analysis
JEL Classification: I18, K14, N42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation