Costs alcohol use in the Netherlands amounted in 2013 to 4.2 to 6.1 billion euros

24 January 2019

A new Social Costs and Benefit Analysis (SCBA) shows that the total costs of alcohol use in the Netherlands in 2013 amounted to 4.2 to 6.1 billion euros. That figure also includes private costs, such as early mortality and loss of quality of life. If we only look at the social costs, we come to about 2.3 to 4.2 billion euros. Social costs are for instance the costs of lower labor productivity and the costs of police, judiciary and traffic accidents. The benefits of alcohol use are, for example, the excise income for the government.

The study is a revised version of a SCBA by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and three other organizations. The new estimates do not include the wellbeing that consumers of alcohol may experience, as it appeared difficult to quantify these benefits.

Regulatory policies aimed at curbing alcohol consumption, such as (1) an increase in excise taxes, (2) a reduction of the number of sales venues, and (3) a total mediaban for advertising alcohol, will result in savings for society at large owing to, for example, less mortality and better quality of life because some alcohol-related diseases are being prevented, greater productivity, fewer traffic accidents and less efforts to be taken by police and justice.

The SCBA findings are as follows: In the long run, over a period of 50 years, an increase in excise taxes of 50% will result in societal benefits of 4.5 to 10.7 billion euro, an increase of excise taxes of 200% will result in societal benefits of 12.2 to 35.8 billion euro. The societal benefits of closure of 10% of sales venues are estimated at 1.8 to 4.3 billion euro after 50 years, and at 4.6 to 10.7 billion euro when 25% of sales venues would be closed. The societal benefits of a mediaban would amount to 3.5 to 7.8 billion euro after 50 years, but this estimate is surrounded by uncertainty.

maatschappelijke-kosten-baten-analyse-rivm-herziene-versie_2.pdfmaatschappelijke-kosten-baten-analyse-rivm-herziene-versie_2.pdf (2,34 MB)


Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
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