I was reading somewhere today about the Sheffield Uni ‘model’ of the effects of minimum unit pricing of alcohol. The ‘model’ predicted a fall in consumption. It is probably fair to say that some people will cut there consumption if they cannot afford their current level. Thus, minimum pricing will have an effect, according to the ‘model’.

The ‘model’ might well be right, other things being equal.

But ‘other things’ are NOT equal. The ‘model’ does not take into consideration ‘substitution’, for example. The ‘substitution’ for cheap ciders which are strong in alcohol might not be weaker products. It might be for ‘bathtub gin’. Another possibility might be that those people who drink moderately might stop drinking, which would be wonderful from a prohibitionist point of view, but would be bad news when all the best stats say that moderate drinking is beneficial.

The main point is that the ‘model’ does not take into account those probabilities.

It is a case of not accounting for ‘costs’.  It is like having a budget which leaves out the cost of bacon butties because they are carcinogenic, regardless of how many people enjoy bacon butties.

As the article which I read (H/T) said, “A ‘model’ which leaves out significant factors is useless”.

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