My da|ra Login

Detailed view

metadata language: English

Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Crime in the United States, 1980-1987

Resource Type
Dataset : aggregate data, and survey data
  • Joksch, Hans C.
  • Jones, Ralph K.
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Free Keywords
alcohol consumption; arrest rates; crime; drinking age; driving under the influence; fatalities; traffic accidents
  • Abstract

    This collection focuses on how changes in the legal drinking age affect the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents and crime rates. The principal investigators identified three areas of study. First, they looked at blood alcohol content of drivers involved in fatal accidents in relation to changes in the drinking age. Second, they looked at how arrest rates correlated with changes in the drinking age. Finally, they looked at the relationship between blood alcohol content and arrest rates. In this context, the investigators used the percentage of drivers killed in fatal automobile accidents who had positive blood alcohol content as an indicator of drinking in the population. Arrests were used as a measure of crime, and arrest rates per capita were used to create comparability across states and over time. Arrests for certain crimes as a proportion of all arrests were used for other analyses to compensate for trends that affect the probability of arrests in general. This collection contains three parts. Variables in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime Data file (Part 1) include the state and year to which the data apply, the type of crime, and the sex and age category of those arrested for crimes. A single arrest is the unit of analysis for this file. Information in the Population Data file (Part 2) includes population counts for the number of individuals within each of seven age categories, as well as the number in the total population. There is also a figure for the number of individuals covered by the reporting police agencies from which data were gathered. The individual is the unit of analysis. The Fatal Accident Data file (Part 3) includes six variables: the FIPS code for the state, year of accident, and the sex, age group, and blood alcohol content of the individual killed. The final variable in each record is a count of the number of drivers killed in fatal motor vehicle accidents for that state and year who fit into the given sex, age, and blood alcohol content grouping. A driver killed in a fatal accident is the unit of analysis.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: FBI Crime Data
    • DS2: Population Data
    • DS3: Fatal Accident Data
Temporal Coverage
  • 1980 / 1987
    Time period: 1980--1987
  • Collection date: 1990
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Fifty states and the District of Columbia.
States that raised the drinking age between 1981 and 1986 were eligible for inclusion in the study test group. Additionally, the year of change and the years in which more than 20 percent of the drivers in the relevant age categories were affected by a "grandfather" clause were excluded. Also, only states and years in which at least 60 percent of the killed drivers were tested for blood alcohol content were included. States that had not changed their drinking age between 1980 and 1987 were eligible for inclusion in the control group.
Collection Mode
  • The codebook is provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

2006-03-30 File CB9685.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.2001-11-16 The data files were reformatted to logical record length format, and a corresponding codebook and SAS and SPSS data definition statements were created. Existing hardcopy documentation was converted to PDF. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (88-IJ-CX-0051).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 9685 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09685.v1
  • Joksch, Hans C., Jones, Ralph K.. Changes in the drinking age and crime. Journal of Criminal Justice.21, (3), 209-221.1993.
    • ID: 10.1016/0047-2352(93)90053-P (DOI)
  • Joksch, Hans C., Jones, Ralph K.. The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Crime. Final Report to the National Institute of Justice.Winchester, MA: Mid-America Research Institute. 1990.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 8 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Joksch, Hans C.; Jones, Ralph K. (1992): Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Crime in the United States, 1980-1987. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.