It's true that in the old days, there was no college culture of clandestine, off-campus binge drinking. It was out in the open, right on the quad. Another difference back then: There was more of it.By what measure, exactly, was there more underage drinking 25 years ago than today? After all, how can we really know since it's been effectively driven underground? Just because you don't see it on the quad doesn't mean kids aren't drinking back at their apartment, frat house or other off-campus setting. (Is "out of sight, out of mind" really the approach we want to take on this topic?) Drunk driving has declined across the board, not just for teens. And to the extent overall teen drinking has declined, how do we know it isn't just a substitution effect with marijuana and other drugs?
What's more, Chapman's analysis ignores data indicating binge drinking increased as a result of raising the minimum legal age. If more youth drank before the drinking age rose but a greater proportion drank irresponsibly after the law changed, that's still an ineffective law.