Privatization of retail alcohol sales occurs when government control over sales is repealed, allowing commercial retailers to sell alcoholic beverages. Privatization generally applies only to off-premise outlets, such as liquor stores, and can occur at various levels of government (CG-Alcohol).
Evidence of Effectiveness
There is strong evidence that privatization, repealing government control and allowing commercial retailing of alcoholic beverages, increases per capita alcohol consumption (CG-Alcohol, Treno 2014). Per capita alcohol consumption is a well-established proxy for excessive consumption (CG-Alcohol). Privatization is also associated with increases in alcohol-related mortality and health problems (Treno 2014).
A Pennsylvania-based study suggests that privatization of alcohol retail sales may increase alcohol outlet density (Grubesic 2012), which has also been shown to contribute to increased alcohol consumption (CG-Alcohol). A Washington-based study indicates increases in the number of alcohol outlets and assaults following privatization of wholesale distribution and retail sales of alcohol (Tabb 2016*).
Impact on Disparities
Citations - Evidence
* Journal subscription may be required for access.
CG-Alcohol - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Excessive alcohol consumption.
Treno 2014 - Treno AJ, Marzell M, Gruenewald PJ, Holder H. A review of alcohol and other drug control policy research. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2014;75(Supplement 17):98-107.
Grubesic 2012 - Grubesic TH, Murray AT, Pridemore WA, et al. Alcohol beverage control, privatization and the geographic distribution of alcohol outlets. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:1015.
Tabb 2016* - Tabb LP, Ballester L, Grubesic TH. The spatio-temporal relationship between alcohol outlets and violence before and after privatization: A natural experiment, Seattle, Wa 2010-2013. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology. 2016;19:115-124.
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