Till A. Boluarte, Elias Mossialos, Caroline Rudisill; The Impact of Alcohol Policies across Europe on Young Adults’ Perceptions of Alcohol Risks. CESifo Econ Stud 2011; 57 (4): 763-788. doi: 10.1093/cesifo/ifr025
Moderating binge drinking among young people remains a major health policy focus of European Union (EU) member states. Risk perceptions toward alcohol are an important predictor of consumption behavior. We analyze how alcohol policies and various sources providing information about alcohol's effects impact adolescents’ risk perceptions about alcohol. We employ the 2008 Flash Eurobarometer survey, ‘Young people and drugs’, with 12,312 (15–24 year old) resident citizens across the 27 EU member states. After adjusting for inter-country variation, most alcohol policies tested had no significant influence on risk perceptions. Only the blood alcohol concentration limit for driving and health warnings on advertisements and/or alcoholic beverage containers showed a significant effect, increasing risk perceptions among adolescents. Three sources of information dissemination about alcohol's risks and effects showed significant influence on risk perceptions. While information about the risks of alcohol from parents increased risk perceptions, information from friends decreased it. The influence of media campaigns was only marginal, though indicating a small decrease in risk perceptions. If the desire is to increase risk perceptions, policy makers should emphasize the short-term effects and externalities of alcohol consumption as well as focus on the clear and salient dissemination of risk information that may influence the normative environment. (JEL code: I18).