Risky Behavior Among Youths: An Economic Analysis

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9780226310138: Risky Behavior Among Youths: An Economic Analysis

Every day young people engage in risky behaviors that affect not only their immediate well-being but their long-term health and safety. These well-honed essays apply diverse economic analyses to a wide range of unsafe activities, including teen drinking and driving, smoking, drug use, unprotected sex, and criminal activity. Economic principles are further applied to mental health and performance issues such as teenage depression, suicide, nutritional disorders, and high school dropout rates. Together, the essays yield notable findings: price and regulatory incentives are critical determinants of high-risk behavior, suggesting that youths do apply some sort of cost/benefit calculation when making decisions; the macroeconomic environment in which those decisions are made matters greatly; and youths who pursue high-risk behaviors are significantly more likely to engage in similar behaviors as adults.

This important volume provides both a key data source for public policy makers and a clear affirmation of the usefulness of economic analysis to our understanding of risky behavior.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a research associate and director of the Program on Children of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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