Reviewing the Evidence on Liquor Privatization

CF President & CEO Matt Brouillette will be debating Wendell Young, President of the UFCW 1776 (the state liquor store employee union) on liquor privatization on PCN TV tonight at 7:00 pm.  Call in with your questions and comments at 1-877-726-5001.

In previous debates, Wendell has not let the facts stand in the way of a good story. One of his favorite lies is that a Commonwealth Foundation study by John Pulito and Dr. Antony Davies of Duquesne University study—which found the level of state control on alcohol has absolutely no link between underage drinking, binge drinking and DUI fatalities—is biased and disagrees with all other peer review studies.

In reality, many studies support these conclusions. Virginia Policy Institute’s 2010 study on privatization found that the “Privatization of, and more competition in, the wholesaling and retailing of spirits in Virginia are highly unlikely to increase alcohol-related problems in the Commonwealth.”

A comprehensive literature review by Dr. Davies looks at peer reviewed studies of liquor priviatization and degrees of control.  Overall, there is no clear evidence that privatization of alcohol markets leads to negative social behaviors. While some studies do show a correlation between privatization and negative social behaviors (usually in one area or over a short time frame), several other studies show no relationship between control and social outcomes.

Maybe for tonight’s debate, Wendell will get his facts straight.

Liquor Privatization Lit Review