- I started by questioning the assumption of zero benefits for "harmful drinkers"
- I pointed to a better prior analysis by Treasury, and started reckoning what fraction of the costs in the BERL report would be excised if we really wanted to worry about external, policy-relevant costs.
- I responded to a defense of the report by one of its authors posted over at the Visible Hand and noted that BERL seems to have obfuscated matters about the cutoff for harmful (zero benefit) drinking: 40 grams of alcohol for men tells us nothing, while translating that into 36 ounces of standard beer (just over two pints) shows what they're up to.
- I checked into the claims of external independent refereeing and found that standards in consulting don't match standards in academia.
- Finally, I summarized some of the above in a Perspectives piece for the Christchurch Press.
The piece in the Press didn't have footnotes; hopefully this posting will serve for showing my work for that article's readers.