Alcohol Prices: Would Raising Them Reduce Drinking among High School Students?

Raising alcohol prices. Would drinking by high school students be lower if alcohol prices were higher? Do peers cause cause others to drink more often or heavier? Researchers asked these questions. They used data from nation-wide federal research.alcohol prices

The researchers found that peers were significant in the choice to drink. But they had no real impact on the frequency of drinking. That included heavy episodic or  binge drinking.

Similarly, the price of alcohol had no real impact on the drinking of high school students.

Key Findings

  • Peer drinking has a significant effect on the decision of high school students to drink.
  • Alcohol prices do not affect the quantity or frequency of alcohol consumption by high school students.

The researchers concluded that ‘no significant impact on underage drinking will result from low-tax states’ increasing excise taxes on alcohol so they are similar to those of high-tax states.’ These findings are important for  policies to reduce underage drinking.


  • Ajilore O., et al. Alcohol consumption by youth. Peers, parents, or prices? Econ Hum Behav, 2016, 23, 76-83.  DOI  10.1016/j.ehb.2016.07.003. PMID 27507725