Search the Site

Teen Sex, Binge Drinking, and Obesity

Economics is sometimes ridiculed as a science that uses complex math to argue the obvious. That complaint may be valid toward the following paper, but it’s still interesting (to me at least): in “Binge Drinking & Sex in High School” (abstract here; PDF here), Jeffrey S. DeSimone argues that “binge drinking significantly increases participation in sex, promiscuity, and the failure to use birth control, albeit by amounts considerably smaller than implied by merely conditioning on exogenous factors.” In a related essay about an earlier paper on binge drinking and risky sex among college students, DeSimone writes:

“I conclude that binge drinking does not make students become sexually active when they would not otherwise be, but does leads to some promiscuous sex that would not otherwise take place. This implies STD infection and unwanted pregnancy are potential external costs of binge drinking that could justify restrictive alcohol policies on college campuses.”

Meanwhile, Susan Averett, Hope Corman, and Nancy Reichman have a new paper (abstract here; PDF here) titled “Effects of Overweight on Risky Sexual Behavior of Adolescent Girls.” It finds that “overweight or obese teenage girls are more likely than their recommended-weight peers to engage in certain types of risky sexual behavior but not others.”