23
May
13

Drinking is good for you

(Sorry guys, this isn’t a nutrition post; I’m just quoting Korpiklaani.)

Eric Crampton leaves us with an entertaining anecdote and a fascinating statistic:

There’s a longstanding alcohol wage puzzle: drinkers earn more than non-drinkers even after correcting for a bunch of stuff. Chris Auld found that moderate drinkers earn 10% more than non-drinkers and that heavy drinkers earn 12% more than non-drinkers; plenty of other studies have found similar effects.

Correlation not being causation, I look for upstream connections.  Way back when, Psychology Today noted that intelligent people drink more, and it doesn’t take Bryan Caplan to deduce that intelligence is a half-decent predictor of income.  I’d lay 90% odds on smart people not being able to get through a day surrounded by nattering nihilistic nabobs without the promise of getting soaked at the end, and 10% on an eerie Harrison Bergeron-style conspiracy in which normals are made to feel better about themselves because they can be almost as productive as I can when I’m murderously hungover.

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3 Responses to “Drinking is good for you”


  1. May 25, 2013 at 01:30

    I don’t think it’s just that; the first thing that “what determines income” studies will correct for is education, which proxies for intelligence. So maybe it’s the more intelligent ones within each education cohort who earn more and who despair at their colleagues, but that seems less likely to be driving things than that it’s picking up an effect of underlying sociability (those invited out to drink have better unmeasured characteristics) and an effect of that drinking together builds trust across colleagues. Note that I don’t think the literature has sorted this out adequately – these are my speculations about what’s going on.


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