Toolkit for Assessing the Unrecorded Alcohol Market

What is the size and composition of the unrecorded market

Methodological approaches to quantifying the unrecorded market and / or determining its composition may rely on direct approaches, indirect approaches, or a combination of the two. Direct approaches involve the collection and analysis of data on the actual variable(s) of interest ― i.e., the production or consumption of unrecorded alcohol. Indirect approaches, on the other hand, use proxy variables to estimate variables of interest that may be difficult to measure directly. For example, disease-specific mortality (e.g., liver cirrhosis mortality) is often used to estimate alcohol-related harm which, in turn, may be used to estimate total consumption in a population (see Extrapolating from Alcohol-Related Harm).

Often, but not always, direct approaches to investigating the unrecorded alcohol market require primary data collection through field research, whereas indirect approaches require only desk research using secondary data. Because the required resources and expertise often differ substantially for field and desk research, we have organized approaches to determining the size and/or composition of the unrecorded market by whether they involve field research, desk research, or both.