The impact of minimum licensing age on youth employment

Michael Byrne, Alexa Delbosc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In Australia, passenger cars represent the predominant form of transportation. This is especially the case in regional and rural contexts, where public transport infrastructure is sparse and the use of active transport methods can be impractical. The ability to drive a car thus brings with it an increased amount of mobility, potentially opening up employment opportunities for drivers that may not have been possible otherwise. This is particularly relevant to young people, where the minimum driver licensing age directly controls when they can begin driving unsupervised. The minimum driver licensing age varies across Australian states and territories. Victoria has the highest minimum age (18 years); however, a parliamentary inquiry is currently exploring whether to reduce this age to 17 years. This paper examines the association between the minimum driver licensing age and youth employment rates across Australian jurisdictions. Descriptive statistical comparisons and linear regression analysis on data from the 2011 Australian Census was used to achieve this aim. Both methods failed to establish a clear association between the minimum licensing age and youth employment, implying that a lower licensing age is unlikely to be associated with economic advantage for young adults. The findings suggest that wider socio-economic forces hold a larger possible impact on the ability of young people to gain employment, compared to licensing policy specifically. This result has crucial implications on how the merits of a younger licensing age should be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-94
Number of pages11
JournalRoad and Transport Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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