Economic aspects of alcohol policy

Various approaches to alcohol pricing have been proposed, including minimum pricing per unit of alcohol, increases in current duty rates and restrictions on below cost selling. This project considered the economic impacts and equity effects of alternative approaches and also considered the comparative effectiveness of non-financial interventions.

Outcome and Translation

Legislation on minimum pricing for alcohol has been passed by the Scottish Parliament and deemed legal by the UK Supreme Court. Evidence relating to the effectiveness of minimum pricing was presented to the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament during the legislative process and has been used in the Scottish Government’s submission in the legal case.

In this YouTube video Professor Anne Ludbrook discusses the introduction of a minimum price on alcohol policy in Scotland during a roundtable discussion at the AMPHORA Conference in Stockholm, October 2012.


HERU researchers involved in this research project: Anne Ludbrook, Lynda McKenzie and Ourega-Zoé Ejebu.

External collaborators: D Petrie (University of Melbourne).


Ludbrook, A. 'Asking the right questions about substitution and complementerity: a comment on Moore's paper', Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2010; 45(5): 412-413.

Ludbrook, A., Petrie, D., McKenzie, L. and Farrar, S. (2012) 'Tackling alcohol misuse: purchasing patterns affected by minimum pricing for alcohol', Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 10(1), 51-63.

Johnston, M.C., Ludbrook, A. and Jaffray, M.A. (2012) 'Inequalities in the distribution of the costs of alcohol misuse in Scotland: a cost of illness study', Alcohol and Alcoholism, 47(6), 725-731.

Alcohol Health Alliance Strategy Group (2013) Health first: an evidence-based alcohol stratgey for the UK, Stirling: University of Stirling. (Ludbrook, A., member of AHAS Group).

Ludbrook, A., Holmes, J. and Stockwell, T. (2014) 'Gender differences in alcohol demand: a systematic review of the role of prices and taxes. Comment on conclusions by Nelson', Health Economics, 23(10), 1281-1283.

Ludbrook, A. (2015) 'Special focus III: How does minimum unit pricing for alcohol affect different types of drinkers?', in Sassi, F. (ed.) Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use. Paris: OECD Publishing. [pdf]

Ludbrook, A. and Griffith, R. (2015) Drinkaware latest viewpoints series: should minimum unit pricing be introduced in the UK? Drinkaware. [Webpage].

Ludbrook, A. (2016) 'Fairness and efficiency: addressing the harms of excessive drinking', HERU Policy Brief, University of Aberdeen, January 2016.

Ludbrook, A. (2017) 'Commentary: Cost of alcohol: better data will be justified if it is put to better use', Addiction, 112(4), 566.


Ludbrook, A. (2012) 'Why is action on alcohol so needed? Round table discussion', AMPHORA Conference, Stockholm, October 2012.

Ejebu, O. (2014) 'Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol and the 'moderate drinker of moderate means': an analysis of household scanner data', Annual Scottish Faculty of Public Health Conference: Health in a Changing Scotland: the Ball's in Our Court, Aviemore, 6 November 2014.

Ejebu, O.. (2014) 'Minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol: who are the predominant purchasers of cheap alcohol in Scotland?', PechaKucha Aberdeen (public engagement), Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen, 2 December 2014.

Ludbrook, A. (2016) 'Today's student, tomorrow's heavy drinker', Café Variété (Public engagement), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, 3 November 2016.