WASHINGTON (AFP) - People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers, according to a US study that highlighted "social capital" gained from drinking.
The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.
"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.
"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."
The authors acknowledged their study, funded by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, contradicted research released in 2000 by the Harvard School of Public Health.
"We created our hypothesis through casual observation and examination of scholarly accounts," the authors said.
"Drinkers typically tend to be more social than abstainers."
The researchers said their empirical survey backed up the theory, and said the most likely explanation is that drinkers have a wider range of social contacts that help provide better job and business opportunities.
"Drinkers may be able to socialize more with clients and co-workers, giving drinkers an advantage in important relationships," the researchers said.
"Drinking may also provide individuals with opportunities to learn people, business, and social skills."
They also said these conclusions provide arguments against policies aimed at curbing alcohol use on university campuses and public venues.
"Not only do anti-alcohol policies reduce drinkers' fun, but they may also decrease earnings," the study said.
The best line in that is "we created our hypothesis through casual observation" which sounds like a euphemism for hanging round in bars.
In a related development, "Two Week Bender Just Flies By", reports Doyle Redland at Onion Radio News.