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Duke U. study posits negative effect of alcohol on learning.

An article in the 8/1 New York Times profiled a study on the relationship between learning and alcohol. The study, recently completed by two Duke University professors, asserts that alcohol has a detrimental effect on learning, and offers a remedy: higher beer taxes.

In their study, profs. Philip J. Cook and Michael J. Moore purport a linkage between the matriculation rates of high school students and state beer tax rates.

The statistical grounding of the study is hazy, but the professor say they "extrapolated" from data supplied by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

The survey provided academic statistics relating to 12,686 students in various states. Cook and Moore attempted to correlate academic performance with the beer tax rate and drinking age in the states studied (Some of the states had not switched to the 21-yr. min. age when the study began).

They said that their study showed that an increase in the state beer tax from ten cents to $1.00 increased the probability of college graduation by 5.3 percentage points on average. The study also said that students in states with the 21-year minimum drinking age graduated from college at a rate 2.8 percent higher than those in states where the minimum drinking age was 18 or 19.

Cook and Moore say that their research is the first to draw a connection between educational attainment and drinking. "We found that high-school seniors are more likely to graduate in states that have a higher alcohol tax," Moore said. "The right level of tax is a sticky situation...but raising the beer tax is a low-cost way of improving the economic circumstances of youth."

Cook said: "In the political battle, it's difficult to convince politicians a higher beer tax would be good for education."

A copy of the study was not available for examination at press-time.
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Title Annotation:Duke University
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 9, 1993
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