For reference, my original question, and my take below:

>In a Forbes article last year, a professor of health at Indiana University
>notes that since the increase in the legal drinking age to 21 (1987), total
>amount of alcohol consumed dropped but the incidence of EXCESSIVE
>drinking increased among 18-20 year olds.
>1. any takers on why?
>2. is a "forbidden fruit" argument consistent with economic rationality?

1. I reckon that venue counts on this issue.  Dropping the legal age to 18 drives 
drinking underground: out of bars and restaurants, into dorm rooms and frat parties.  
The unit price is far lower in the latter.  So use the law of demand.

2. That ignores the forbidden fruit argument.  I have no dispute that 18-20's use 
drinking as a means of acquiring status.  But that's not sufficient to explain an 
increase in binge drinking.  I think forbidden fruit has a rational (in the strict 
economic sense) component.  But I don't think it's sufficient to explain the data here.

One of my intermediate micro students actually "got" #1 this semseter.


Edward J. López
Assistant Professor
Department of Economics
University of North Texas
P.O. Box 311457
Denton, TX 76203-1457
Tel: 940.369.7005
Fax: 940.565.4426

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