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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Differences in liquor prices between control state-operated and license-state retail outlets in the U.S

This study aims to compare the average price of liquor in the United States between retail alcohol outlets in states that have a monopoly (′control′ states) with those that do not (′licence′ states).

A cross-sectional study of brand-specific alcohol prices in the United States.

We determined the average prices in February 2012 of 74 brands of liquor among the 13 control states that maintain a monopoly on liquor sales at the retail level and among a sample of 50 license-state liquor stores, using their online-available prices.

We calculated average prices for 74 brands of liquor by control vs. license state. We used a random effects regression model to estimate differences between control and license state prices – overall and by alcoholic beverage type. We also compared prices between the 13 control states.

The overall mean price for the 74 brands was $27.79 in the license states (95% confidence interval [CI], $25.26-$30.32) and $29.82 in the control states (95% CI, $26.98-$32.66). Based on the random effects linear regression model, the average liquor price was approximately two dollars lower (6.9% lower) in license states.

In the United States monopoly of alcohol retail outlets appears to be associated with slightly higher liquor prices.

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