200343 Effects of alcohol prices and taxes on alcohol consumption and traffic crash rates: Meta-analyses of the literature from 1960-2006

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:30 AM

Alexander C. Wagenaar, PhD , College of Medicine; Dept of Epidemiology & Health Policy Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Kelli A. Komro, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Health Policy Research and Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
We conducted a meta-analysis of English-language published studies from 1960 to 2006 examining relationships between beverage alcohol tax or price levels and alcohol sales, consumption, and traffic crash outcomes. We identified 155 papers containing 1137 separate empirical estimates of effect of alcohol taxes on various measures of alcohol consumption and traffic crashes. Methods. All available estimates were coded and a partial correlation was calculated based on the statistics provided. Random-effects models were used to obtain overall inverse-variance-weighted estimates of the magnitude and significance of the relationship between alcohol tax/price indices and alcohol sales or consumption and traffic crash measures. Results. For sales and consumption outcomes, results show aggregate-level studies partial correlation r = -0.44 for general alcohol measures; -0.17 for beer; -0.30 for wine; and -0.29 for spirits (all p<.001). Partial r estimates from individual-level studies are substantially smaller than from aggregate-level studies, but remain statistically significant. All studies of heavy alcohol consumption are necessarily at the individual level, and show a small, significant relationship between price or tax indices and heavy alcohol use (r=-0.01; p<.01). Among studies with traffic crash outcomes, results show a clearly significant relationship (p<.001) of substantively important magnitude (one standard deviation increase in price is related to a 0.13 standard deviation reduction in crash rates). Conclusions. Beverage alcohol taxes and prices are clearly related to drinking and traffic crash involvement. Policies that raise taxes and prices of alcohol may reduce the burden of alcohol-related automobile crashes, injuries and deaths, as well as consumption of alcohol.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the effects of beverage alcohol tax or price levels on alcohol sales, consumption and traffic crash outcomes.

Keywords: Alcohol, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years of experience in conducting scientific research and 160 publications regarding alcohol-related public policies and prevention activities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.