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Frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption: new evidence from Sweden

Author

Listed:
  • Gawain Heckley

    () (Lund University
    Lund University)

  • Johan Jarl

    (Lund University
    Lund University)

  • Ulf-G Gerdtham

    (Lund University
    Lund University
    Lund University)

Abstract

There is an increasing body of evidence that the intensity in which alcohol is drunk is of greater concern than the frequency or overall quantity consumed. This paper provides an extensive analysis of the demand for alcohol as measured by total quantity, frequency, and intensity. A unique large sample of cross-sectional data from Sweden 2004–2011 allows reduced-form alcohol demand equations to be estimated for beer, wine, and spirits, split by alcohol drinking pattern (average vs. binge drinkers) and gender. Results find a negative beer excise rate effect for participation and frequency, and positive effect for intensity. The effect was stronger for binge drinkers. Generally, the results also show a positive socioeconomic (income and education) gradient in frequency demand and a negative gradient in the intensity demand. Female wine drinkers show a positive socioeconomic gradient in both frequency and intensity. The findings highlight the complexity of this policy space. Tax increases appear to reduce frequency but raise intensity consumed. The more educated and higher earners drink more in total, but less intensely when they do and this is likely to explain in part why poor health is concentrated amongst lower socioeconomic status individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Gawain Heckley & Johan Jarl & Ulf-G Gerdtham, 2017. "Frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption: new evidence from Sweden," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(4), pages 495-517, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:18:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10198-016-0805-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-016-0805-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fredrik Berggren & Matthew Sutton, 1999. "Are frequency and intensity of participation decision-bearing aspects of consumption? An analysis of drinking behaviour," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(7), pages 865-874.
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    3. Dennis Petrie & Christopher Doran & Anthony Shakeshaft & Rob Sanson-Fisher, 2009. "The demand for intensity versus frequency of alcohol consumption: Evidence from rural Australia," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 222, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    4. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1996. "Binge Drinking In College: The Impact Of Price, Availability, And Alcohol Control Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 112-124, October.
    5. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-326, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anton Nielsson, 2017. "Short- and Long-Term Effects of Adolescent Alcohol Access: Evidence from Denmark," Economics Working Papers 2017-03, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alcohol; Demand; Drinking pattern; Binge drinking;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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