Breaking the Link between Legal Access to Alcohol and Motor Vehicle Accidents: Evidence from New South Wales

68 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2014

See all articles by Jason M. Lindo

Jason M. Lindo

Texas A&M University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Peter Siminski

University of Wollongong - School of Economics

Oleg Yerokhin

University of Wollongong - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

A large literature has documented significant public health benefits associated with the minimum legal drinking age in the United States, particularly because of the resulting effects on motor vehicle accidents. These benefits form the primary basis for continued efforts to restrict youth access to alcohol. It is important to keep in mind, though, that policymakers have a wide variety of alcohol-control options available to them, and understanding how these policies may complement or substitute for one another can improve policy making moving forward. Towards this end, we propose that investigating the causal effects of the minimum legal drinking age in New South Wales, Australia provides a particularly informative case study, because Australian states are among the world leaders in their efforts against drunk driving. Using an age-based regression-discontinuity design applied to restricted-use data from several sources, we find no evidence that legal access to alcohol has effects on motor vehicle accidents of any type in New South Wales, despite having large effects on drinking and on hospitalizations due to alcohol abuse.

Suggested Citation

Lindo, Jason M. and Siminski, Peter and Yerokhin, Oleg, Breaking the Link between Legal Access to Alcohol and Motor Vehicle Accidents: Evidence from New South Wales (January 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19857, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2384311

Jason M. Lindo (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Peter Siminski

University of Wollongong - School of Economics ( email )

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Wollongong, New South Wales 2522
Australia

Oleg Yerokhin

University of Wollongong - Department of Economics ( email )

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Wollongong, NSW 2522
Australia

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