View Full Version : Correlation between pay and social drinking whets the curiosity

10-22-2006, 06:02 PM
There's a guy named Hippy who works at The Living Room Lounge. He has a theory:

http://www.indystar.com/graphics/clear.gifAlcohol is good for a career. Professionals who go into the Pennsylvania Street bar for a drink or two find success they might not have without Captain Morgan or Grey Goose.

"In business, it breaks the ice, makes you more relaxed," says Hippy, who keeps the place clean, stocked with alcohol and sometimes tends the bar.
Hippy's theory has just been proven.

A controversial study is making some of the more conservative types a little loopy -- a study that says drinkers earn more money than their nondrinking peers. The report, published in the Journal of Labor Research, concludes that people who drink, whether at home or in a bar, earn 10 percent to 14 percent more than dry employees.

"There is a social networking aspect of drinking going on," says Edward Stringham, co-author of the study and professor of economics at San Jose State University. "People who go to bars are more likely to meet potential employees and clients."

It's kind of like taking business out on the golf course (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=golf%20course) or going to a baseball game with the boys.

But unlike the innocence of teeing up a ball or enjoying peanuts and Cracker Jack at the stadium, drinking alcohol to gain success isn't always looked upon fondly. Stringham admits the findings go against traditional thinking.
"The conventional wisdom is drinking is bad for you economically," he says.
Anne-Marie Tekorius, a bartender at the Old Point Tavern on Massachusetts Avenue, says she has noticed that isn't quite the way it works.
"Yes. Definitely," she says, when asked if it makes sense that people who drink are more successful in their careers. Why? "Because I see a lot of the people in here, and I know who some of them are."

They are political types, business leaders and the who's who of corporate life in Indianapolis.

For employees, who may have felt a bit guilty for having a glass of wine after work or heading to the local pub for happy hour, they now have a bit of research in their corner.

The study, funded by Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, looked at more than 8,000 people nationally. It surveyed their careers, earnings and educational background and asked participants whether they consider themselves drinkers. Researchers then compared all variables and found that two people with virtually identical characteristics repeatedly had different earnings based on whether they drank.

The Web site for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports a $90 billion loss each year because of alcohol-related illness. It estimates the economic cost of alcohol abuse (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=alcohol%20abuse) to the U.S. exceeds $184 billion.