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Young People and Alcohol: An Econometric Analysis

NCJ Number
Addiction Volume: 97 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 1573-1582
Petter Lundborg
Date Published
December 2002
10 pages
This paper examines motivations for drinking alcohol among young people from an economic-theoretical framework.
The author explains that from an economic-theoretical perspective, the decision of young people to consume alcohol is based on an analysis of its costs versus its benefits. The goal of this study was to expand the economic literature on adolescent drinking by examining the effects of four variables on adolescent drinking behavior. The four variables that were tested are (a) the presence of parents willing to supply alcohol; (b) living in a single-parent household; (c) having unemployed parents; and (d) having received an education about drugs and alcohol. Data were analyzed from a 1999 Swedish cross-sectional survey of 833 young people ages 12 through 18. The effects of the four variables were tested on an adolescents’ participation in drinking, frequency of drinking, intensity of drinking, and binge drinking. Distinction was made between beer, wine, and spirits. Results of statistical analysis revealed that having parents who were willing to supply alcohol increased the frequency and the intensity of drinking beer, wine, and spirits, and increased the likelihood of binge drinking. Living in a single-parent household had no influence over adolescent drinking behavior. Having an education about drugs and alcohol decreased only the intensity of beer consumption among adolescents. Finally, having an unemployed father increased the risk of binge drinking but reduced the frequency of wine consumption. The author notes that this research should be useful for policy makers. Future policy should explore how to best affect the cost-benefit analysis of drinking for adolescents. Tables, references