Last updated on: 8/18/2017 | Author:

Abigail R. Hall-Blanco, PhD Biography

Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Tampa
Pro to the question "Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?"

“Prohibiting young people from consuming alcohol doesn’t stop them from drinking. But it does make drinking much less safe. Instead of drinking at a bar, for example, students drink secretly in dorm rooms or at clandestine parties, where they are much less likely to be supervised and where drinks spiked with drugs are much more likely. If someone overindulges or becomes ill, their friends are less likely to seek medical and other assistance. Why? Because underage drinking is illegal, and calls for help risk self-incrimination.

Moreover, banning the sale of alcohol to people under 21 is certain to encourage binge drinking… Since most college students are unable to buy their own alcohol, they have friends, family members, or even strangers buy it for them. But these people are not always available. This lack of a reliable supply makes young drinkers are more likely to overindulge when alcohol is available.

Lowering the drinking age would help mitigate or reverse these effects. With a reliable supply, young drinkers would have less incentive to binge. And when binging [sic] did occur, they would be more likely to seek help.

Besides being ineffective, the drinking laws are incredibly costly. In 2005 the consequences of the underage drinking (missed work, healthcare costs, etc.) spurred by current policy cost taxpayers $60.3 billion. The U.S. government also spends millions of dollars every year enforcing these ineffective policies.”

Cowritten with Anna Wavrin, “Lower the Legal Drinking Age,”, Jan. 3, 2017

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Affiliated Scholar, Mercatus Center, 2016-present
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Tampa, 2015-present
  • Affiliated Scholar, Foundation for Economic Education, 2015-present
  • Research Fellow, Independent Institute, 2014-present
  • PhD, Economics, George Mason University, 2015
  • MA, Economics, George Mason University, 2013
  • BA, magna cum laude, Economics and Business Administration, Bellarmine University, 2011
  • Previously worked as a dance instructor teaching tap, jazz, and ballet
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?