Measuring public policy: The case of beer keg registration laws

Alexander C. Wagenaar, Eileen M. Harwood, Cindy Silianoff, Traci L. Toomey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although there are many valuable evaluations of alcohol control policies, most do not account for the complexities of the policies, such as variability across jurisdictions, conceptual multi-dimensionality, implementation procedures and enforcement mechanisms. We conducted a detailed analysis of state beer keg registration policies in US. Based on reviews of keg registration statutes and regulations and surveys of alcohol beverage control agency officials in each of the 21 states with a keg registration law, three independent coders examined seven core conceptual components. Laws varied considerably in statutory and regulatory provisions and implementation procedures. No state specifically provided for enforcement, education or training regarding keg registration laws, and most did not fully specify penalty or benefit provisions. Future policy evaluation studies should include reliable coding of multiple policy dimensions and characteristics, and incorporate continuous measures of policy quality, not a simple dichotomy indicating presence or absence of a policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported here was supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey, Grant Numbers 051779 and 049276, Alexander C. Wagenaar, Principal Investigator. We appreciate the helpful comments of the reviewers. Findings and conclusions are solely the authors'.


  • Alcohol
  • Kegs
  • Laws
  • Measurement
  • Policy evaluation
  • Regulations


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