Page last updated: Jan 2021
Changes in the price of alcohol and effect on youth drinking and in different socio-economic groups

Many studies have shown that changes in alcohol prices have a significant effect on total sales. However, few studies have focused on youth, particularly in different socioeconomic groups. A study examined the effect of changes in the price of alcohol on consumption levels and binge drinking among 15 to 16 year old students in Sweden.
Data on alcohol consumption were retrieved from a representative survey of students aged 15-16, conducted annually between 1989 and 2017. In the analysis, two types of price data were used: the official price at the retail stores, and the mean price of the ten cheapest beverages in each category. The mean aggregate annual income per Swedish household was included as a control variable.
The variable used to measure the socioeconomic status was the proportion of the ninth-grade students at each school, who had at least one parent with an education higher than upper secondary school.
The students’ alcohol consumption levels and binge drinking were not significantly affected by price changes during the study period; this was true both for the group as a whole, and among subgroups of boys or girls of different socioeconomic status. Results were similar regardless of which type of price data variable was used in the analyses.
Neither average nor minimum price of alcohol had a significant impact on the development of youth drinking in Sweden during the study period, the authors conclude.
Source: Björn Trolldal, Jonas Landberg, Mats Ramstedt, Changes in the Price of Alcohol and Effect on Youth Drinking and in Different Socio-Economic Groups, Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2020, agaa114.

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