The Myth of the Drinker's Bonus
Drinkers earn more than non-drinkers, even after controlling for human capital and local labor market conditions. Several mechanisms by which drinking could increase productivity have been proposed but are unconfirmed; the more obvious mechanisms predict the opposite, that drinking can impair productivity. In this paper we reproduce the positive association between drinking and earnings, using data for adults age 27-34 from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979). Since drinking is endogenous in this relationship, we then estimate a reduced-form equation, with alcohol prices (proxied by a new index of excise taxes) replacing the drinking variables. We find strong evidence that the prevalence of full-time work increases with alcohol prices %u2013 suggesting that a reduction in drinking increases the labor supply. We also demonstrate some evidence of a positive association between alcohol prices and the earnings of full-time workers. We conclude that most likely the positive association between drinking and earnings is the result of the fact that ethanol is a normal commodity, the consumption of which increases with income, rather than an elixer that enhances productivity.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 1995.
"Economic conditions and alcohol problems,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 583-603, December.
- Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
- Dave, Dhaval & Kaestner, Robert, 2002.
"Alcohol taxes and labor market outcomes,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 357-371, May.
- Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
- Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005.
Handbook of Economic Growth,
in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699
- Steven N. Durlauf & Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 10485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven N. Durlauf & Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Durlauf,S.N. & Fafchamps,M., 2004. "Social capital," Working papers 12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Steven Durlauf & Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital," Development and Comp Systems 0409060, EconWPA.
- Cook, Philip J. & Moore, Michael J., 1993. "Drinking and schooling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 411-429, December.
- Vivian Hamilton & Barton H. Hamilton, 1997. "Alcohol and Earnings: Does Drinking Yield a Wage Premium," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 135-151, February.
- John Mullahy & Jody L. Sindelar, 1995.
"Employment, Unemployment, and Problem Drinking,"
NBER Working Papers
5123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Philip J. Cook & George Tauchen, 1982. "The Effect of Liquor Taxes on Heavy Drinking," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 379-390, Autumn.
- Jeremy W. Bray, 2005. "Alcohol Use, Human Capital, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 279-312, April.
- Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody L, 1991. "Gender Differences in Labor Market Effects of Alcoholism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 161-165, May.
- French, Michael T. & Zarkin, Gary A., 1995. "Is moderate alcohol use related to wages? Evidence from four worksites," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-344, August.
- Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
- repec:oxf:wpaper:wps/2004-14 is not listed on IDEAS
- Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody L, 1993. "Alcoholism, Work, and Income," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 494-520, July.
- Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
- Steven F. Koch & Kerry Anne McGeary, 2005. "The Effect of Youth Alcohol Initiation on High School Completion," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(4), pages 750-765, October.
- Don Kenkel & Ping Wang, 1998.
"Are Alcoholics in Bad Jobs?,"
NBER Working Papers
6401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zarkin, Gary A. & French, Michael T. & Mroz, Thomas & Bray, Jeremy W., 1998. "Alcohol use and wages: New results from the national household survey on drug abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 53-68, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11902. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.