Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 411–421 | Cite as

No booze? You may lose: Why drinkers earn more money than nondrinkers

  • Bethany L. Peters
  • Edward Stringham


A number of theorists assume that drinking has harmful economic effects, but data show that drinking and earnings are positively correlated. We hypothesize that drinking leads to higher earnings by increasing social capital. If drinkers have larger social networks, their earnings should increase. Examining the Gen-eral Social Survey, we find that selfreported drinkers earn 1014 percent more than abstainers, which replicates results from other data sets. We then attempt to differentiate between social and nonsocial drinking by comparing the earn-ings of those who frequent bars at least once per month and those who do not. We find that males who frequent bars at least once per month earn an addi-tional 7 percent on top of the 10 percent drinkers’ premium. These results sug-gest that social drinking leads to increased social capital.


Social Capital General Social Survey Wage Premium Alcohol Outlet Wage Penalty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bethany L. Peters
    • 1
  • Edward Stringham
    • 2
  1. 1.Analysis GroupDallas
  2. 2.San Jose State UniversitySan Jose

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