Micro (brewed) Economics

jennadrunk.jpgThe latest data seems to suggest that drinking alcoholic beverages increases your paycheck. Here’s a portion of the Reason Foundation’s press release:

Numerous studies have shown moderate alcohol use can have important health benefits and now a new report finds drinking can help your wallet too.

Drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money at their jobs than nondrinkers and men who drink socially, visiting a bar at least once a month, bring home an additional 7 percent in pay, according to a new Reason Foundation report by economists Bethany Peters, Ph.D., and Edward Stringham, Ph.D.

“Social drinking builds social capital,” said Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University. “Social drinkers are networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their Blackberries that result in bigger paychecks.”

The study finds that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than nondrinkers. However, unlike men, who get an additional income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women who do not visit bars.

Not happy with a drinking age of 21, the prohibitionists continue to push public policy in ways which make it more difficult to drink in public places, ranging from drinking restrictions on or near campuses to smoking bans in many cities to ongoing efforts to further pursue drunk drivers — who, in some cases, weren’t even driving. Perhaps a future study of the lifetime earnings of those who drank in college is in order. I’d suggest that those who learn to drink responsibly before they turn 21 probably have a higher earning potential than the non-drinkers.

While Reason‘s Nick Gillespie was on CNBC explaining the study tonight, the television program provided a factoid suggesting that Americans spend $120,000,000,000 per year on alcoholic beverages. This incredible sum of money illustrates that most Americans are at odds with their prohibitionistic policy makers. The authors of the study concluded that rather than discouraging drinking in society, “perhaps we should encourage it.”

I’ll drink to that!

Disclaimer: I engaged in alcohol-related social networking at a bar last night, and Gillespie (thanks, Nick!) bought me a drink. Perhaps both of us can anticipate a payraise soon.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. Ooooo, first bite of the cherry…I remember visiting the US as a teenager, we traveled up to L.A. to see a rock concert, I was 19 y.o. The drinking age was 21. Hangin’ outside the huge venue, trying to sell a spare ticket, we were approached THREE TIMES by drug dealers (jest lurve that entrepennurial spirit) selling coke, crack and pot. But I couldn’t buy a fuckin’ beer! Anyway, great weed…great concert. Now, this concert was FULL of – gasp – teenagers! When the lights went down, everyone sparked up, EVERYONE. Check out this logic; Teenagers minus beer equals drugs…unless you are a fuckwit Rapture Ready Evangelist, stalking Joh Bennet Whats’ername. Oh, and Boston n Sammy Hagar rocked to this (then) young dude.

  2. You know, I was considering not having another beer tonight, but you’ve sold me on how the next one will marginally improve my productivity. I am going to send this to my boss.

  3. I’d be willing to buy a round for HQ staff to say thanks for the CT Tracker. Where’s the donation box for the LP Health Through Alcohol Fund?

  4. Well, it could just mean the type of people who are likely to be high earners are more likely to drink. Or the stress from high paying jobs drives people to drink. Or outgoing people are more likely to earn a lot of money and drink socially ( they are outgoing afterall so they probably drink socially AND have the social “skills” to navigate the workplace politics BS often involved in promotions and making more money,etc).

    Though I could see how drinking( if used as medication) might increase my earnings, but it would require drunk driving and I’ll pass on that one.

  5. When looking at a study i always repeat this mantra, Correlation does not prove causation. Not to say their isn’t something to this study, I haven’t even looked at it. However, just to be on the safe side i will have a drink! hmmm, I know the bottle of jack is some where.

  6. When you drink alcohol, you’re dumping poison into your body. You’re killing brain cells and damaging your liver. When you drink alcohol, it penetrates every cell of your body. It’s never been proven that alcohol has any health benefits. The benefits from wine are from the proanthocyanidins present, not the alcohol. You can get the same benefits from wine by drinking grape juice or by eating grapes.

    On the other hand, cannabis has been shown to have many health benefits, including shrinking tumors, easing the pain from multiple sclerosis, trating glaucoma, and reducing nausea during chemotherapy.

    I only mention this because of the hypocritical nature of our society. Alcohol kills over 85,000 per year in the US while there’s never been a reported death from cannabis. Alcohol is far more dangerous than most illegal drugs.

    I’m not for restricting the use of alcohol, but I think it’s important to keep in mind the tremendous damage that it does to our bodies.

  7. I finally get it. I’ve not completed formal education, but have always been able to provide well (enough) for my family. It must be my New Orleans upbringing. That place used to be a wonderland for young drinkers and I was trained right. Going to mix another Madras- I will explain to my overworked liver that it is my desire to make my banker work as hard as it.

  8. LOL…I saw this study around 4:45 today and used it to rally about a dozen or so co-workers to the bar…just getting back now…ahhh, yes…moderate alcohol consumption…missed that part earlier…hahaha

  9. My grandpa had to drink a glass of wine every day for his heart. Kept him alive for ten years… he forgot about it one day, had a heart attack, and died.

  10. i agree with graham and kcjerith. There’s a lot of variables not being taken into account. If you believe the premise that its the social networking of the bar scene that causes the increase in pay than cannabis cafes and opium dens would probably result in the same pay increase. End prohibition!!

  11. This study should control for the following variables – how many of the non-drinkers are religious morons? Of course they’re going to earn less than freethinkers or casual observers. They’re idiots! They’re too busy molesting kids and bashing gays to concentrate on building careers.

  12. The “study” also does not mention how much of the social drinkers net income is spent on drinking. It is possible that the social drinkers suffer a net loss of income when you take into account the alcoholic overhead and higher income tax rate.

  13. The results of this study do not suprise me at all. Being a college student, where drinking is a farily large part of the experience, I would expect the correlation. The kids who stay in their rooms while everybody else is out at the frats or at the bar are missing out on very valuable social interaction and networking opportunities. Having the extra practice in these social situations can be extremely valuable later on in life.

  14. how many of the non-drinkers are religious morons?

    Hey, fuck that. This “religious moron” appreciates a good drink too, and isn’t out to ban anything.

    And some of the “religious morons” out there that don’t are still good people; libertarians even.

  15. If they’re really libertarians, then they’re not “morons.”

    Don’t misconstrue my words. I didn’t say that everyone who was relgious was a moron. In fact, I made that prety clear.

    People who are insane or delusional enough to believe that the earth was created in six days or that dinosaurs shared the planet with man are obviously going to earn less than people who have a non-fantasy based education. If that offends anyone, then they are indeed a “moron.”

  16. The more I think about this study the angrier it makes me. It’s junk. It’s like studies that say that children who go to private school test better than children who go to public school… And yet when you control for socio-economic variables, public school students actually perform a little better. Sorry, free-marketeers. The real issue in that case, is of course, religious neandterthals. Anyone dumb enough to believe that man can walk on water isn’t going to do well on a science test, obviously.

  17. An easy way to account for these results: a large portion of tee=totallers are actually recovering dead end drunks, or practicing alkies in denial (usually after failed attempts at recovery).