HR Strange But True!
September 28, 2006

It's hardly news anymore when a study shows a positive correlation between moderate drinking and health and longevity. But now a new study has found that drinkers even earn more than nondrinkers.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an associate professor of economics at San Jose State University and one of the study's two authors. "Social drinkers are networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their Blackberries that result in bigger paychecks."

Stringham and co-author Bethany Peters found that men and women who drink earn an average of 10 percent to 14 percent more than men and women who abstain from alcohol. And men who drink socially - defined as going out to bars at least once a month - earn an additional 7 percent more on top of that. No incremental increase was found for women who drink socially.

"Drinkers may be able to socialize more with clients and co-workers, giving drinkers an advantage in important relationships," according to the study. "Drinking may also provide individuals with opportunities to learn people, business, and social skills."

The study was sponsored by the Reason Foundation, whose self-described mission is to "advance a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law."

The Foundation and the study's authors contend that "the growing wave of anti-alcohol legislation at state and local levels will have harmful effects on local economies and individual finances."

"By preventing people from drinking in public, anti-alcohol policies eliminate one of the most important aspects of drinking: increased social capital," the study states. "Rather than attempting to discourage drinking in society, perhaps we should encourage it."

For what it's worth ...

Source: "No Booze? You May Lose: Why Drinkers Earn More Money than Nondrinkers" and the Reason Foundation

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