Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2009:16: Driving Under the Influence of Our Fathers

Randi Hjalmarsson () and Matthew Lindquist ()
Additional contact information
Randi Hjalmarsson: Univerisity of Maryland, Postal: School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park MD 20742 , USA,
Matthew Lindquist: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper studies intergenerational correlations in drunk driving between fathers and their children using the Stockholm Birth Cohort. We find strong evidence of an intergenerational drunk driving relationship. Cohort members who have fathers with a drunk driving record have 2.59 times higher odds of having a drunk driving conviction themselves than cohort members with non-drunk driving fathers. We then go on to investigate the underlying mechanisms that give rise to these correlations. The results provide compelling evidence that at least some of this relationship represents a behavior-specific transference from fathers to their children. Specifically, much of the raw father-child drunk driving relationship persists over and above controls for a number of potential explanations, including that the relationship is: (i) a by-product of parental alcoholism, (ii) symptomatic of a general pattern of non-law abiding behavior, (iii) attributable to inherited ability and physical characteristics, and (iv) accounted for by common background variables or social factors. We then go on to show how this mechanism may change over time. As cohort members age into adulthood, the father-child drunk driving relationship appears to be driven by a more general behavioral transference mechanism and can be accounted for by parental alcoholism and non-law abiding behavior.

Keywords: alcohol; crime; drunk driving; illegal behavior; intergenerational crime; intergenerational mobility; risky behavior

JEL-codes: J62; K42

32 pages, September 7, 2009

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