Elasticity of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms, and drinking initiation in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Bundit Sornpaisarn, Kevin Shield, Joanna Cohen, Robert Schwartz, Jürgen Rehm

Abstract


Sornpaisarn, B., Shield, K. Cohen, J., Schwartz, R. & Rehm, J. (2013). Elasticity of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms, and drinking initiation in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, 2(1), 45-58.  doi: 10.7895/ijadr.v2i1.50 (http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v2i1.50)

Aim: To systematically review research outlining the effects of price and taxation on alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms, and drinking initiation in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

Design: The systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted according to internationally standardized protocols (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis; PRISMA). Data were collected up to June 2011 by searching the peer-reviewed article databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and EconLit, along with the World Health Organization’s gray literature Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and by reference tracking. The meta-analyses were performed using random effects analysis, tests for publication bias, and sensitivity analyses.

Measures: Any type of association between alcohol price and/or taxation and alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms, and alcohol drinking initiation in LMIC.

Findings: Our systematic search disclosed 12 studies that outlined an association between alcohol price or taxation and alcohol consumption in LMIC, while no articles were found that outlined a relationship between taxation and/or price and alcohol-related harms or drinking initiation in LMIC. The elasticity estimates were –0.64 (95% CI: –0.80 to –0.48) for total consumption of alcohol, –0.50 (95% CI: –0.78 to –0.21) for consumption of beer, and –0.79 (95% CI: –1.09 to –0.49) for consumption of other alcoholic beverages. Publication bias did not significantly affect the estimated elasticities.

Conclusion: Price elasticity of demand for alcohol in LMIC is similar to that found in high-income countries. There is an imperative need for research on the association between alcohol price or taxation and alcohol-related harms and drinking initiation in LMIC.


Keywords


alcohol; elasticity; low-income countries; middle-income countries; price; taxation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v2i1.50

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