Carlos Dobkin (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz)
04/15/2013, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.
Much research shows that tighter alcohol controls reduce alcohol-related harms, but far less is known about the mechanisms through which alcohol control reduces harms. We provide new evidence on this question using the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) in Canada, the universe of Canadian mortality records, and extremely detailed survey data on daily alcohol consumption. Using regression discontinuity (RD) methods, we find strong gender differences in the effect of the MLDA on both mortality and the intensity with which people drink. Our results suggest that changes in very heavy drinking are primarily responsible for the harm-reducing effects of the MLDA.