Monday, 2 March 2015

The Total Consumption Model again

I recently came across a House of Commons briefing paper titled 'Alcohol policy and the effects of the Licensing Act 2003'. It is undated, but seems to come from around 2009. Almost in passing, it puts the lie to the Total Consumption Model of alcohol consumption...

A chief problem for policymakers is that many of these problems arise from particular drinking behaviours, rather than alcohol consumption in general: for instance, there is not a particularly strong association between alcohol-related death rates and per capita consumption across Europe (see chart 2)

It then says:

Given the subtleties of the problem, general taxation of alcohol is seen as a rather blunt policy instrument (there is a similar lack of correlation between taxation levels and consumption in Europe).

Indeed. As I showed in the IEA report Drinking in the Shadow Economy, there is no correlation between affordability and consumption at the population level.

So, to summarise. There is no correlation between taxation levels and per capita consumption, and there is no correlation between between per capita consumption and harm.

And yet the Total Consumption Model somehow survives in 'public health'.

1 comment:

Christopher Snowdon said...

The Total Consumption Model is far too useful for the public health movement to be ever knocked over. They who generate the 'evidence' get to choose which evidence is repeatedly cited and so propagated, and makes its way into expert and ministerial briefings.