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Recent Dev Alcohol. 1983;1:303-45.

Price and income elasticities of demand for alcoholic beverages.


Estimating the demand for alcoholic beverages represents a difficult statistical problem. A number of studies have attempted to estimate the demand for beer, wine, distilled spirits, or total alcohol consumption. The results vary widely according to country of study, data used, and model and statistical technique. For the United States, most studies find the demand for beer to be relatively price inelastic, at around -0.3. The demand for distilled spirits appears to be unitary price elasticity or somewhat greater, around -1.5. The evidence on wine is too sketchy to draw any conclusions. There is no strong evidence of substitutability among beer, wine, and distilled spirits based on econometric models, nor evidence that advertising plays a strong role in the aggregate demand for beer, wine, or distilled spirits. The main policy implication is that price increases to control consumption will have a stronger impact on the consumption of distilled spirits than on beer.

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