This is another example where, if you lack analytic skills, you will jump to the wrong conclusions. This news article was published in MyNorthWest. It's about the new law that went into effect a year ago in WA, allowing grocery stores to sell hard liquor. Here we provide 16 reasons that could explain this paradox. You might even come up with additional reasons.
- There is a glitch in the data collection process, the data is wrong.
- The article is posted by someone with a conflict of interest, promoting a specific point of view. It is politically motivated. It's just a bold lie.
- There were fewer arrests because the state laid-off many policemen.
- What about other crimes? Did alcohol-related domestic violence increase?
- Is it part of a general downward trend? Without the new law, the decline would have been even more spectacular?
- Lack of statistical significance.
- More strict penalties deterring drinkers.
- There is more drinking by older people. As they die, DUI arrests decline. Or population of drinkers is decreasing, even though the population in general is increasing, driven by Chinese and Indian immigration - people who drink much less.
- Is the decrease in DUI arrests for WA residents, or for non-residents as well?
- It should have no effect because anyone could still buy alcohol (except hard liquor) anywhere in any grocery store in WA, before the new law.
- People do drink more, but are more careful or get too drunk to drive, when switching from beer to hard liquor.
- Prices (maybe because of increased taxes) have increased, creating a dent in alcohol consumption. Although alcohol and tobacco are known for their absence of price elasticity.
- People drive shorter distances to get their hard liquor now, so arrests among hard liquor drinkers have decreased. Or they can drive to get their liquor when they are sober (before, it was just between 8 am and 5 pm at a state store).
- Is the decline widespread among all drinkers, or only among hard liquor drinkers?
- Maybe people are driving less, in general - both drinkers and non-drinkers. Maybe because gas is too expensive.
- A far better metric to assess the impact of the new law is the total consumption of alcohol (especially hard liquor) by WA residents
On a different note, how would you measure the impact of the following wine fraud: you go to a restaurant, order a $20 glass of wine, get offered a $10 wine glass and charged $20. Some claim that most Americans would not notice the difference. It happened to me once with a glass of champagne (substituting good champagne with something totally undrinkable), but it could have been an accident.