NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fraternity Membership and Binge Drinking

Jeffrey S. DeSimone

NBER Working Paper No. 12468
Issued in August 2006
NBER Program(s):   HE

This paper examines the relationship between membership in social fraternities and sororities and binge drinking among 18–24 year old full-time four-year college students who participated in the 1995 National College Health Risk Behavior Survey. To deal with unobserved heterogeneity in binge drinking incidence and frequency regressions, I enter as explanatory variables various measures of situational and overall alcohol use. When these are added, the fraternity membership coefficient is substantially reduced in size, but remains large and highly significant. This suggests that fraternity membership increases binge drinking. If not, it identifies a very specific mechanism underlying the decision to join a fraternity: members drink more intensely than non-members even while doing so in similar frequencies and situations and for similar lengths of time. Particularly notable is that behavior by underage students appears to drive the relationship.

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Published: DeSimone, Jeff, 2007. "Fraternity membership and binge drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 950-967, September.

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