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What U.S. Data Should be Used to Measure the Price Elasticity of Demand for Alcohol?

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher J. Ruhm
  • Alison Snow Jones
  • William C. Kerr
  • Thomas K. Greenfield
  • Joseph V. Terza
  • Ravi S. Pandian
  • Kerry Anne McGeary

Abstract

This paper examines how estimates of the price elasticity of demand for beer vary with the choice of alcohol price series examined. Our most important finding is that the commonly used ACCRA price data are unlikely to reliably indicate alcohol demand elasticities--estimates obtained from this source vary drastically and unpredictably. As an alternative, researchers often use beer taxes to proxy for alcohol prices. While the estimated beer taxes elasticities are more stable, there are several problems with using taxes, including difficulties in accounting for cross-price effects. We believe that the most useful estimates reported in this paper are obtained using annual Uniform Product Code (UPC) "barcode" scanner data on grocery store alcohol prices. These estimates suggest relatively low demand elasticity, probably around -0.3, with evidence that the elasticities are considerably overstated in models that control for beer but not wine or spirits prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Ruhm & Alison Snow Jones & William C. Kerr & Thomas K. Greenfield & Joseph V. Terza & Ravi S. Pandian & Kerry Anne McGeary, 2011. "What U.S. Data Should be Used to Measure the Price Elasticity of Demand for Alcohol?," NBER Working Papers 17578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17578
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    Cited by:

    1. Ajilore, Olugbenga & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Egan, Keven, 2016. "Alcohol consumption by youth: Peers, parents, or prices?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 76-83.
    2. repec:eee:irlaec:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:15-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Meng, Yang & Brennan, Alan & Purshouse, Robin & Hill-McManus, Daniel & Angus, Colin & Holmes, John & Meier, Petra Sylvia, 2014. "Estimation of own and cross price elasticities of alcohol demand in the UK—A pseudo-panel approach using the Living Costs and Food Survey 2001–2009," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 96-103.
    4. Nelson, Jon P., 2014. "Estimating the price elasticity of beer: Meta-analysis of data with heterogeneity, dependence, and publication bias," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 180-187.
    5. Saffer, Henry & Gehrsitz, Markus, 2016. "The effect of post-and-hold laws on alcohol consumption," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 63-71.
    6. Adrian R. Fleissig, 2016. "Changing Trends in U.S. Alcohol Demand," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 44(3), pages 263-276, September.
    7. Vinish Shrestha, 2015. "Estimating the Price Elasticity of Demand for Different Levels of Alcohol Consumption among Young Adults," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 224-254, Spring.
    8. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9337-x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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