Alcohol consumption and Tax Differentials Between Beer, Wine and Spirits
Several public health interest groups in the United States
have recently called for equalization of the federal tax on a unit
of alcohol in beer, in wine and in spirits. This paper provides
some new empirical evidence of what effect alcohol tax
differentials have on total alcohol consumption. The data indicate
that the greatest decrease in alcohol consumption results from an
increase in spirits taxes, followed by beer taxes and then wine
taxes. This suggests that the existing generally accepted taxation
policy of placing the highest tax on spirits, a lower tax on beer,
and the lowest tax on wine, results in the greatest reduction in
total alcohol consumption.
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