Experimental analysis of the 'happy hour": effects of purchase price on alcohol consumption

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1978 Jun 15;58(1):35-41. doi: 10.1007/BF00426787.


An experimental analogue of a discount drink policy known as the "happy hour" was used to study the effects of purchase price on drinking behavior. Male volunteers with a prior history of either casual (N=20) or heavy (N=14) drinking were given free access to beverage alcohol during a 20-day period. Approximately half the subjects could purchase alcohol under a single-price condition (50 cents/drink), while a matched group was given a price reduction daily (25 cents/drink) during a three-hour period in the afternoon. The results demonstrated that the afternoon price reduction significantly increased alcohol consumption in both casual and heavy drinkers. Reinstatement of the standard purchase price effectively suppressed drinking in both groups. The findings are discussed in terms of the theoretical and research implications of environmental influences on drinking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Beer
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Ethanol