Another significant concern is that the size of the elasticity estimates generated by AC Nielsen and the SHORE and Whariki Research Centre are very large compared to international estimates, and result in significant changes in consumption when the various pricing options are analysed. The large off-licence elasticities may be driven by the fact that both regular prices and promotional prices are included in the elasticities. The large on-licence elasticities are likely to be a consequence of a reasonably small sample size and cross-sectional data.
It was decided that the significant reductions in consumption estimated using NZ elasticity estimates are not a realistic representation of what is likely to happen in reality and are contrary to all international evidence of the responsiveness of alcohol consumers to changes in price.
So SHORE produces estimates that are "not a realistic representation of what is likely to happen in reality and are contrary to all international evidence". I'd discussed the MoJ report here.
Sally Casswell is Director of SHORE.
2014 Funding Round – Project$1.1 million to Casswell from the government. SHORE's general survey work at least is more reliable than their attempt at modelling elasticities. Their analysis on the survey work is often pretty bad, but the surveys themselves are potentially useful.
Professor Sally Casswell
Massey University, Auckland
Alcohol Policy Interventions in New Zealand (APINew Zealand) - effects of change in sale and supply$1,191,469
Lay summaryThis research investigates alcohol consumption in New Zealand to measure the effects of changes brought about by new legislation regulating the sale and supply of alcohol. It follows the same people over time surveying them not only about their drinking patterns but also issues which may be affected by policy: for example purchasing patterns: time of day they buy alcohol, how far they travel, how much they pay. The research also measures the alcohol environment using available data and key informant interviews to predict how people's behaviour might change. Those who report large changes in their drinking behaviour will be followed up in more depth to explore what policy and non-policy influences have affected their behaviour. This New Zealand study is part of an international collaboration and allows comparisons between different countries. The goal is to inform the development and implementation of effective alcohol policy and reduce alcohol related harm.
When I'd pointed to declining youth drinking rates a few months ago, Casswell wrote this letter to the NZMJ critical of the much much smaller amount of money that the Brewers Association provided as grant to the University of Canterbury. One-sided skepticism is lovely.
Meanwhile, the University of Otago's temperance crusaders scored another research grant from the government: $1.190 million (a thousand dollars less than Casswell got, for some reason). Here's the HRC summary. I note these bits from Otago's press release on their awarded grant:
Lead investigator Dr Brett Maclennan says the new Act is intended to reduce harm resulting from the excessive consumption of alcohol but it omits almost all of the evidence-based strategies recommended by the Law Commission in its 2010 review.
...Professor Kypros Kypri, a co-investigator on the project, says that “public desire for better alcohol policy is very strong and people were disappointed at the way the Law Commission recommendations for reform were watered down. It is important to know whether the new law is effective and we are delighted to see independent peer-reviewed research funded in this area.”Well, at least we know their priors. Kypri isn't at Otago but rather at Newcastle, where he argues that the drinking age should increase to 21.
Recall that, in 2008, National ran on an anti-nanny-state ticket. But they keep shovelling funding towards outfits that seem guaranteed to demand ever-tighter controls on alcohol.