Happy hour for drinkers' wages
New study reveals that those who enjoy a tipple now and then earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you thought swigging beer or indulging in a glass of chardonnay was putting your career on a fast-track to nowhere, think again.
In fact, a study conducted by two economists and published Thursday by the Reason Foundation and in the latest edition of The Journal of Labor Research, says that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than those who refrain from drinking.
"Instead of earning less money than nondrinkers, drinkers earn more," authors of the study, Bethany Peters and Edward Stringham, wrote. More specifically, the study found that workers who drank in a social setting earned more than those who tipped a glass at home.
The study contends that social capital, which entails everything from a person's charisma to the size of their social network, can be enhanced by drinking.
Those who drink socially, for example, may have an easier time finding a new job if they had made more business contacts, the authors claim, or they might strengthen relationships with co-workers or clients that could ultimately affect their salary.
While earnings for both men and women benefited from drinking, the study discovered a few noteworthy differences between the two groups.
Female drinkers earned 14 percent more than non-drinkers, while males who drank earned 10 percent more than their teetotaler counterparts.
At the same time, men who went to a bar at least once a month earned an additional 7 percent on top of the 10 percent drinking premium. But women who engaged in similar behavior did not experience any effect on their earnings.
The authors said their research came in response to growing efforts to restrict drinking on college campuses, limit alcohol advertising and raise taxes on liquor.
A spokesman for Reason Foundation, a libertarian public policy research organization which was founded in 1968, said the group was not commissioned by any outside parties to conduct the study.
The study could be good news for big makers of beer, wine and liquor, notably Anheuser-Busch (Charts), Molson Coors (Charts) and Fortune Brands (Charts), the parent company of such brands as Jim Beam and Absolut.