Thursday 18 January 2018

New Irish study: Drinkers earn more, and heavy drinkers earn most

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Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

Drinkers earn more than teetotallers and heavy drinkers earn the most, a new study has found.

According to the study, heavy drinkers earn on average €12,400 more than non-drinkers, The Sunday Times reports.

Previous international research has generally found that moderate drinkers earn more but that the correlation tapers off for heavy drinkers.

“We were surprised by the finding for heavy drinkers,” said Gillian Ormond, co-author of the study and a lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology’s School of Business.

The study divided participants into four groups: those who never drank; non-drinkers; moderate drinkers, who drank up to 14 units a week (for women) or 21 units a week (for men); and heavy drinkers who drank more than that.

Those who never drank had an average annual income of €23,618, while the average for heavy drinkers was €36,097 – a difference of €12,479.

This is the first piece of research of its kind specifically relating to Ireland.

“Given that we have such an issue with high levels of consumption, it struck me that there was so much of these studies done in other countries, but not anything for Ireland,” Dr Ormond said.

Their findings came from an analysis of the Slan national health and lifestyle survey from 2007, published by the Department of Health.

Dr Ormond told The Sunday Times that the data was still relevant, and went on to say that drinking habits in Ireland have not changed since the recession.

Previous studies have shown that moderate drinking improves health and that healthy people do better in the workplace, which Dr Ormond pointed to as a possible explanation for the findings.

She also mentioned a UK study which suggested that moderate drinkers are better at social networking, which helps them earn more.

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