Another look at the identical tastes hypothesis on the analysis of cross-country alcohol data
A number of studies have appeared in the area of cross-country consumption comparisons, where a common system of demand equations is used to model the consumption patterns of all countries. Under this approach, tastes are taken to be the same internationally. Such an assumption of identical tastes was forcibly advocated by the dual Nobel laureates, Stigler and Becker, who argued that tastes neither change capriciously nor differ importantly between people. In this paper, we use the system-wide approach to demand analysis to analyse the alcohol consumption patterns of drinkers from 10 high-income industrialised countries and verify Stigler and Becker's (Rev Econ Statist 59:113-118, 1977) hypothesis by testing whether pooling the data across countries is acceptable. We also present the implied demand elasticities for beer, wine and spirits for the 10 countries and discuss the use of these elasticities in policy-related applications.