Alcohol Prices

There's a proposal to increase the price of alcohol to prohibitively expensive levels to curb antisocial drinking in Aboriginal communities (and presumably in towns too). To this I have two comments:

  • the price would have to be increased for everyone, and I can't imagine your average bloke in Alice Springs paying $10-$15 for a can of beer.
  • It would severely increase problems for the non-drinking members of the family. For someone who wants to drink and is already quite happy to steal from granny to do so, $10 or $50 for a bottle of port is not going to make much difference. It is, however, going to have on effect on the people who get humbugged for the money.

The relevant analogy is gambling – would someone seriously propose that a solution to problem gamblers is to raise the stakes by 500%?


3 responses to “Alcohol Prices

  1. Your analogy to gambling and ‘rais(ing) the stakes by 500%’ is unclear to me. Also, it does seem unlikely that this will work if implemented quickly (it’s inviting the development of a black market of alcohol smuggled from elsewhere in Australia), but smaller price increases at the margin might have a positive effect. In the case of cigarette consumption, those already addicted are less responsive to price changes than those yet to be addicted; you have to take that dynamic effect into account also. That is, gradual price increases might work better; plus, there’s a ceiling on how large a price differential with other markets can be implemented.

  2. We have similar problems here in Alaska, especially the rural areas. Many villages have opted to go ‘dry’, but it doesn’t work all that well. People just smuggle booze in from Anchorage or Fairbanks, passing it around the village with black market prices. A recent article in the Anchorage Daily News said a $15 bottle of whiskey (memory’s hazy, but you get the point) goes for upwards of $150 in some villages because people get desperate. Some are looking to go ‘wet’ again, not because they want drinking, but because they don’t want people spending the family’s food budget to afford the alcohol. Tough decisions.

  3. how much does alcohol cost in alaska? im doing a project

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