Study shows drinking is not all bad

By Nicki Briggs


Chandler Hoopes ’12 and Morgan Beeson ’12, interested and agitated by the University’s  Campus Climate Report, chose to research the question of what really determines future salary expectations for their Econ 341 project. After considering multiple factors, the two determinants found to be most influential were social life and GPA.
Their results suggest that students who drink more often do better in the job market after graduation than those who stay in and study on a more regular basis.

“Those results are somewhat consistent with what other studies have found, that heavy drinking reduces a person’s income but that people who drink moderate amounts on average often have higher incomes than people who never drink,” associate professor of economics Christopher Magee said.

They put together a survey that was sent out to 1,500 alumni from the classes of 2001, 2006 and 2010 and received a promising sample of 251 responses. The survey contained questions about college major, employment, salary, how often they stayed in at night to go to the library and how often they went out to drink.

“The people who are really successful in the outside world were not the kind of people who would have stayed in Saturday night,” Hoopes said.
The data showed that as GPA increases by one point, salary moves up half an income bracket. Data analysis also found that one unit increase in the nights one goes out and participates in “binge drinking” (consuming five or more drinks for men, four or more drinks for women) raises his or her income bracket by one quarter. In other words, two more nights of binge drinking each week has the capability to raise income bracket by the same amount as raising GPA by 1 point.

Hoopes and Beeson’s study by no means encourages students to spend all of their time drinking instead of studying. Instead, it supports the importance of making time for both socializing and studying.

“Balance is important. It’s not just about getting good grades,” Hoopes said.
“I think everybody subconsciously believes this, that people who are more sociable will excel. We defined what sociable was in our minds,” Beeson said.
Although GPA was still the most important factor in determining future salary, it becomes less important the farther away from college one gets. The social skills you develop will stick with you and help you to continue to be successful in your life. Hoopes and Beeson’s study is sound evidence that perhaps taking the time to build balance in life is something that all University students should consider doing.
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