The Economics of Beer

Shelf Talker by | Sep 2012 | Issue #68

The Economics of Beer
Edited by Johan F.M. Swinnen
Oxford University Press, December 2011, $45

This book is the real thing. Swinnen, an economics professor at the University of Leuven, organized the first Beeronomics Conference in 2009, and a second in 2011. He, along with fellow researchers also attracted to the subject, drew inspiration from the presentations made there and did their own research. The result is a collection of articles on topics ranging from beer in the Renaissance to a look at why the Russian beer industry is booming. Other questions addressed: whether people drink more during a recession; how liberalization has affected India‚Äôs beer market; and the pros and cons of government regulation over the beer industry, as examined through the lens of behavioral economics. You know, just some light beach reading. Graphs (like one comparing profit-to-sale between Boston Beer Co., Pyramid and Redhook) break up the dense, wonky articles, but folks willing to pay the steep price should expect nothing less for their money. 

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