Sunday, September 24, 2006

Oktoberfest - Good For Wages

From Marginal Revolution:

...we conjecture that binge drinking conveys unobserved social skills that are rewarded by employers.

Here is the full and very carefully done paper. I've known for a while there is a correlation between drinking and wages, but only recently have I started thinking it might be more than a trick in the data. The effect disappears for women, once educational attainment is taken into account. So should you encourage your sons to drink, so as to learn rituals of social bonding, or is their binging simply a signal of sociability? I'll note, by the way, that I am a not very social person who also doesn't drink much, verging on not at all.

I think this is a prime example of how econometrics can help us understand complicated relationships. And there is no doubt that this matches some theoretical intuition you might have. Who make the best salesmen? I'm not being sexist here but this is really something you see only in males (as the data suggest). I think the best salesmen are the guys that were the life of the party, and they were ALWAYS partying. I'm not advocating anyone take up binge drinking, but I am pointing out the importance of developing the ability to socialize.

So, as Oktoberfest approaches we can all turn to building important job skills.

Update: Andrew Gelman offers a link to this Journal of Research article as well.

1 comment:

TOR Hershman said...

Just like it was in ancient Rome, Athens and Thebes.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,