The Effect of Enforcement on Merchant Compliance with the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Law
Minimum legal drinking age laws are unique in that deterrence strategies can target either the underage youth or the alcohol retailer. This chapter evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention to deter underage alcohol sales by targeting alcohol retailers instead of underage youth. It presents a study demonstrating that a deterrence strategy composed of compliance checks and the threat of compliance checks was effective in increasing alcohol retailer compliance with the minimum legal drinking age law. The study was conducted in the City of New Orleans. The evaluation was carried out by means of compliance checks conducted at baseline, five months after baseline, and twelve months after baseline. The chapter concludes that enforcement of liquor laws can increase compliance with minimum drinking age laws and that the effect can be magnified by media advocacy associated with an enforcement effort.