The Effects of the 2004 Reduction in the Price of Alcohol on Alcohol-Related Harm in Finland
A Natural Experiment Based on Register Data
Finnish Yearbook of Population Research XLV 2010 Supplement
Changes in alcohol pricing have been documented as inversely associated with changes in consumption and alcohol-related problems. Evidence of the association between price changes and health problems is nevertheless patchy and is based to a large extent on cross-sectional state-level data, or time series of such cross-sectional analyses. Natural experimental studies have been called for. There was a substantial reduction in the price of alcohol in Finland in 2004 due to a reduction in alcohol taxes of one third, on average, and the abolition of duty-free allowances for travellers from the EU. These changes in the Finnish alcohol policy could be considered a natural experiment, which offered a good opportunity to study what happens with regard to alcohol-related problems when prices go down. The present study investigated the effects of this reduction in alcohol prices on (1) alcohol-related and all-cause mortality, and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, (2) alcohol-related morbidity in terms of hospitalisation, (3) socioeconomic differentials in alcohol-related mortality, and (4) small-area differences in interpersonal violence in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. Differential trends in alcohol-related mortality prior to the price reduction were also analysed.
|Julkaisija||The Population Research Institute / Väestöntutkimuslaitos|