The Economics of Alcohol Abuse: Are Drinkers Paying Their Way?

 

You are instructed to write an essay on the economics of alcohol abuse and alcohol control policies in Canada. Your essay must be more than 2500 words (an automatic fail will be given to papers less than 2500 words) but no more than 3000 words.
The following questions must be addressed in your essay: 1. What are the consequences of alcohol consumption for individual health? Provide supporting evidence. 2. What are alcohol’s externalities? Provide supporting evidence. 3. Explain the theory of rational addiction. 4. Explain the market failure within the rational addiction model. Use a graph to aid in your explanation. 5. Discuss the efficiency justification for a public monopoly in the alcohol retail market. Use a graph to aid your discussion.
6. There is growing consensus that alcohol consumption may not be rational. Explain the time-inconsistent and myopic models of addiction. 7. Discuss the efficiency implications of the ‘irrational’ addiction models. Define ‘intrapersonal externalities’ in this context. Use a graph to aid in your discussion. 8. If alcohol consumption is time-inconsistent and/or myopic how might an excise tax promote social welfare in a monopoly market? Use a graph to aid in your explanation. 9. Alcohol-control measures are effective only to the extent that they affect consumers’ decisions about drinking. How does the consumption of alcoholic beverages respond to changes in their prices? What are the factors that govern price-elasticity? Provide supporting evidence. 10. One argument against increasing the price of alcohol across the board through taxes is that such increases will place an unfair financial burden on low to moderate drinkers as compared with heavy (dependent) drinkers, in effect punishing the many for the sins of a few. Does evidence support this argument? What group of drinkers contributes to the majority of alcohol-related health and social harm in a population? Discuss the ‘prevention paradox’ in this context. Discuss how minimum and volumetric pricing (markups) and indexing, in combination with sales taxes – two different, but not mutually exclusive, approaches to prevention in the alcohol field – can promise the twin advantages of greater effectiveness for health and safety purposes and greater public acceptability.
The following sources are available on the course website to aid in writing your essay: 1. For assistance in writing the introduction, thesis statement, body of essay, and conclusion visit the course webpage Resources>Essay>Structure of An Essay. 2. For in-text citations and end-of-essay bibliographic references you must adopt the Author-Date Chicago Manual of Style. For details of this style visit the course webpage Resources>Essay>Essay Guidelines. 3. For details of what needs to be sourced visit the course webpage Resources>Essay>Essay Guidelines and read the “Plagarism” section of the guideline. 4. For details of how you will be graded on the essay see the grading rubric posted on the course webpage Resources>Essay>Grading Rubric for Essay.

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