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The Devil is in the Details: Identifying the Unbiased Link between Access to Alcohol and Criminal Behavior

Kabir Dasgupta (), Christopher Erwin () and Alexander Plum
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Christopher Erwin: NZ Work Research Institute, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law at AUT University

No 2020-12, Working Papers from Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics

Abstract: The minimum alcohol purchasing age in New Zealand was lowered from 20 to 18 in December 1999. Focusing on two distinct legislative regimes, we utilize a national-level census of criminal convictions to examine the impact of unrestricted alcohol purchasing rights on alcohol-related crime. Our study reveals that overall trends in alcohol-related crimes are obscured by offences that can only be prosecuted up to a certain age. After removing confounding influences from additional regulations that hold relevance under one legislative regime but not the other, we do not find a statistically meaningful increase in overall measures of alcohol-related crimes at the minimum legal alcohol purchasing age. Our analysis suggests that compared to more commonly analyzed minimum legal drinking age legislation, governmental regulations that allow limited exposure to moderated drinking experiences prior to permitting alcohol purchasing rights might be more effective in mitigating alcohol-induced risky behaviors.

Keywords: minimum legal purchasing age; alcohol-related crime; court charges; youth behavior; regression discontinuity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 I12 I18 K14 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law
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