A new study from the Reason Foundation (which publishes Reason magazine) notes that drinkers earn more than teetotalers and speculates that the difference is due to the connections they make during alcohol-enhanced socializing. The authors, economists Edward Stringham of San Jose University and Bethany Peters of the Dallas-based Analysis Group, support this hypothesis by showing that drinking in bars (as opposed to at home) is associated with an additional earnings edge among men (but not among women).
Of course, it could just be that more gregarious people are both more likely to be social drinkers and more likely to get good jobs, win promotions, and close deals. Still, I appreciate the effort to illuminate the positive effects of drinking, given the relentlessly negative focus of public health officials, anti-alcohol activists, and most academics. The study, which also was published in The Journal of Labor Research, got respectful coverage from CNN and the Los Angeles Times, among others.