The economics of alcohol abuse and alcohol-control policies.
Economic research has contributed to the evaluation of alcohol policy through empirical analysis of the effects of alcohol-control measures on alcohol consumption and its consequences. It has also provided an accounting framework for defining and comparing costs and benefits of alcohol consumption and related policy interventions, including excise taxes. The most important finding from the economics literature is that consumers tend to drink less ethanol, and have fewer alcohol-related problems, when alcoholic beverage prices are increased or alcohol availability is restricted. That set of findings is relevant for policy purposes because alcohol abuse imposes large "external" costs on others. Important challenges remain, including developing a better understanding of the effects of drinking on labor-market productivity.