Are alcohol prices and harm from misuse of alcohol related? It’s often suggested that we should increase taxes on alcohol to reduce harms. Some people suggest requiring minimum prices for alcohol. Would raising the price of alcohol be an effective deterrent to DWI and other problems?
To answer this, researchers made a complete review of natural experiments in nine countries. They studied policy changes that affected alcohol taxes and prices. The researchers studied 69 alcohol-related harms reported in studies published over a period of 12 years.
A total of 45 studies were analyzed. The nine countries were Australia, China, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.
This lack of pattern shouldn’t be surprising. Many factors affect alcohol harm. These factors include age, religion, ethnicity, race, gender, education, background, occupation, and many more.
These findings are important for alcohol policy.
Simple solutions to complex problems rarely works effectively. So we should not be surprised that simply raising the price of alcohol would be any different.
Alcohol Prices and Harm
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- Gius, M. The Effect of Taxes on Alcohol Consumption. Penn Econ Rev. 11: 76-93
- Kuo, K., et al. Does Price Matter? Alco Clin Exper Res, 27:720-25.
- Walker, T. Why We Should Not Set a Minimum Price per unit of Alcohol, Pub Health Ethics, 3: 107-14.
- Nelson, J. et al. Alcohol prices, taxes, and alcohol-related harms. Health Pol.