BPEA | 1994: Microeconomics

Alcohol Consumption and Young Adults’ Socioeconomic Status

David C. Ribar and
David C. Ribar Pennsylvania State University
Donald S. Kenkel
Donald S. Kenkel Pennsylvania State University

Microeconomics 1994

IN THE PAST FIFTEEN years the consumption and abuse of alcohol became matters of intense public concern. By the end of the 1980s, the federal government and many state governments had increased excise taxes on alcohol. The federal government began to require manufacturers to place warning labels on alcoholic beverage containers; the state governments (with some federal pressure) set their legal minimum drinking ages at a uniform twenty-one years. This surge of government activity may not be over. Policy initiatives still under consideration include further tax increases, requirements for sterner warning labels, mandated insurance coverage of alcoholism treatment, and restrictions on alcohol advertising, especially advertising targeted at young drinkers.