Abstract

Using cross-state variation in minimum wages, we observe a positive relationship between the minimum wage and the number of alcohol-related accidents involving teen drivers. A similar effect is not observed when examining accidents among adults. The results are consistent with a positive income elasticity for alcoholic beverages and driving activities among young people, in particular for consumption out of discretionary income accorded by higher minimum wages. Evidence of a sizable impact of beer taxes on alcohol-related accidents among youths suggests that beer taxes are one avenue for policymakers to consider in counteracting this unintended consequence of minimum wages.

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