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How does alcohol access affect transitional adults’ healthy dietary behaviors?

Hieu Nguyen

Economics & Human Biology, 2019, vol. 35, issue C, 82-95

Abstract: Despite the rich evidence of the negative effects of alcohol on health, educational, and labor market outcomes, less is known about whether or how lowering the cost of accessing alcohol affects youths’ healthy dietary behaviors. Our study addresses this gap by employing individual-level data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97). Exploiting the age cutoff in the US minimum legal drinking age law, we find that the transition to the age of 21 coincides with a discontinuous increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables among the overall NLSY97 sample. One possible explanation for this seemingly counterintuitive result is that some youths re-optimized in response to an exogenous reduction in the cost of alcohol access. We separated the results by drinking status and gender, scrutinized the drinking subsample, and found suggestive evidence in support of this hypothesis. We also examined different sociodemographic subgroups to better understand the heterogeneous local average treatment effects of the universal MLDA policy.

Keywords: Alcohol; MLDA; Fruit; Vegetables (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.06.002

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