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Keywords:

  • alcohol demand;
  • alcohol prices;
  • alcohol abuse;
  • gender

ABSTRACT

Gender differences in drinking patterns are potentially important for public policies, especially policies that rely extensively on higher alcohol taxes and prices. This paper presents a systematic review of alcohol prices and gender differences in drinking and heavy drinking by adults and young adults. Starting with a database of 578 studies of alcohol demand and other outcomes, 15 studies are reviewed of adult drinking including discussion of samples, measurement issues, econometric models, special variables, and key empirical results. A similar discussion is presented for eight studies of drinking by young adults, ages 18–26 years. Four conclusions are obtained from the review. First, adult men have less elastic demands compared with women. Second, there is little or no price response by heavy-drinking adults, regardless of gender. Third, although the sample is small, price might be important for drinking participation by young adults. Fourth, the results strongly suggest that heavy drinking by young adults, regardless of gender, is not easily dissuaded by higher prices. Policy implications, primary study limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.