News Release

Report: Drinkers Earn More Money Than Non-Drinkers

Social drinkers who hang out in bars bring home even bigger paychecks

Numerous studies have shown moderate alcohol use can have important health benefits and now a new report finds drinking can help your wallet too.

Drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money at their jobs than nondrinkers and men who drink socially, visiting a bar at least once a month, bring home an additional 7 percent in pay, according to a new Reason Foundation report by economists Bethany Peters, Ph.D., and Edward Stringham, Ph.D.

“Social drinking builds social capital,” said Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University. “Social drinkers are networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their Blackberries that result in bigger paychecks.”

The study finds that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than nondrinkers. However, unlike men, who get an additional income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women who do not visit bars.

The study, published in the latest edition of the Journal of Labor Research, suggests that the growing wave of anti-alcohol legislation at state and local levels will have harmful effects on local economies and individual finances. Efforts to impose massive tax increases on alcohol, to restrict alcohol sales through zoning laws, and prohibit alcohol advertisements have all been stepped up in recent years.

“We’re quick to ban beer at sports stadiums and festivals. The legal blood alcohol level is dropping everywhere, and we’re barraged with overhyped warnings about binge and underage drinking,” Stringham said. “Instead of fear mongering we should step back and acknowledge the proven health and economic benefits that come with the responsible use of alcohol.”

Full Study Online

The full report, Why Drinkers Earn More Money Than Nondrinkers, is available online at

About Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. Reason produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically acclaimed monthly magazine, Reason. For more information, please visit


Edward Stringham, Economics Professor, San Jose State University, (408) 924-5419
Chris Mitchell, Director of Media Relations, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109