The Catastrophe of What Passes for Alcohol Analysis
Reason Foundation Policy Brief No. 78
6 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2010 Last revised: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: 2009
Is alcohol a good like other economic goods, or is alcohol a “catastrophe” that should be heavily taxed? In two recently published studies - “The Cost of Alcohol in California,” published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and “The Annual Catastrophe of Alcohol in California,” published by the Marin Institute - Simon Rosen, Ted Miller and Michelle Simon claim that moderate-to-high alcohol consumption costs the state of California $38.4 billion per year, or roughly $1,000 for each of the state’s residents. Despite the popularity of Rosen, Miller and Simon’s research among politicians, any amount of economic investigation into their research methods shows their conclusions are dubious at best. Although Rosen, Miller and Simon’s research appears scientific, careful analysis shows that it is little more than a poorly supported effort to promote a prohibitionist agenda.
Keywords: social costs, alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, responsible drinkers
JEL Classification: I112, H76, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation