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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(6), 2124-2131; doi:10.3390/ijerph8062124
Article

Is the Demand for Alcoholic Beverages in Developing Countries Sensitive to Price? Evidence from China

1
 and 2,*
1 College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, No. 17, Qinghuadong Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100083, China 2 School of Economics, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, 777 Guoding Road, Shanghai 200433, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 May 2011 / Revised: 1 June 2011 / Accepted: 2 June 2011 / Published: 9 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
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Abstract

Economic literature in developed countries suggests that demand for alcoholic beverages is sensitive to price, with an estimated price elasticity ranging from −0.38 for beer and −0.7 for liquor. However, few studies have been conducted in developing countries. We employ a large individual-level dataset in China to estimate the effects of price on alcohol demand. Using the data from China Health and Nutrition Survey for the years 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2006, we estimate two-part models of alcohol demand. Results show the price elasticity is virtually zero for beer and only −0.12 for liquor, which is far smaller than those derived from developed countries. Separate regressions by gender reveals the results are mainly driven by men. The central implication of this study is, while alcohol tax increases can raise government revenue, it alone is not an effective policy to reduce alcohol related problems in China.
Keywords: alcoholic beverage; drinking; alcohol demand; price elasticity; beer; liquor alcoholic beverage; drinking; alcohol demand; price elasticity; beer; liquor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Tian, G.; Liu, F. Is the Demand for Alcoholic Beverages in Developing Countries Sensitive to Price? Evidence from China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 2124-2131.

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