A new study used behavioral economic principles to examine the effects of next-day class characteristics on alcohol demand among college students. In the first experiment, participants were 59 U.S. undergraduates who were randomly assigned to read one of three scenarios and report the number of drinks they would consume across a range of prices. The control scenario did not include information about next-day class and the two experimental scenarios included a lower-level class or an upper-level class at 10 a.m. the following morning. Results indicated higher prices for drinks and the presence of a next-day class were both associated with significantly lower reported demand for alcohol, but class level was not. The second experiment involved 57 different undergraduate students. The control scenario remained the same, but the experimental scenarios were changed to include a 30-person class or a 12-person class at 10 a.m. the next morning. As before, participants indicated they would consume fewer drinks when drinks cost more. Students who read the 12-person class scenario reported they would drink less than those in the 30-person class scenario; both groups reported less demand for alcohol than participants in the control group.
Take away: This study provides evidence that students’ demand for alcohol is negatively associated with higher prices per drink and the presence of a next-day class. Smaller next-day classes were found to lower alcohol demand, but higher-level next-day classes were not.