Meta-Analysis of the Literature on the Effect of Alcohol Taxes/Prices on Drinking, Morbidity and Mortality

Previous studies from 1960 to the present have shown that there is a link between the price of alcohol and its consumption. That is, when prices go up, consumption goes down, and when prices go down, consumption goes up.

This project conducted a formal statistical meta-analysis on effects of beverage alcohol taxes/prices on drinking and on a range of morbidity and mortality outcomes. A systematic review or “meta-analysis” re-analyzes data from all the previous studies as a whole, allowing conclusions that are not limited to specific policy changes or a single state or country.

A meta-analysis of alcohol taxes/prices also provides the most precise estimates of the effects of the price changes based on the cumulative evidence across dozens or hundreds of studies. Today, the idea of taxes on alcohol is rising on the agenda of health officials and lawmakers because of a combination of things, such as historically low real alcohol tax rates, political opposition to increased income and property taxes, increasing budget shortfalls and experience with tobacco tax increases.