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Economist article advocates beer taxes to reduce teen mortality.

A recent issue of the Economist included an article entitled "Beer, Taxes and Death." The article offered support to a recent study, which recommended higher beer taxes to curb drunk driving fatalities among young people.

The Economist writes, "Efforts to reduce alcohol consumption have concentrated on raising the minimum legal age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic drinks...Surprisingly little use has so far been made of a different deterrent--price."

According to the article, U.S. taxes on beer are $2.00 per liter of pure alcohol, versus $18.20 in Britain, and the author says, "Most teenagers have less disposable income than adults; higher taxes would hurt."

The study used to support the article, titled "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," by Michael Grossman and others(*), posited that if the tax on beer had been indexed to the rate of inflation since 1951, the number of young "frequent beer drinkers" would have been cut by a fifth.

The authors of the study estimate that 1,660 lives a year could have been saved by an indexed excise tax between 1982 and 1988.

The Economist article concluded, "The evidence is speculative; but it suggests that a simple tax rise would be worth trying."

* For those interested in acquiring a copy of the study, it is titled "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth." and is identified as "National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper #4385."
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Oct 4, 1993
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