Yglesias asks whether that means people with many years of schooling are drinking more or just drinking fancier stuff.
Increasing levels of education correlates with increased income and, presumably, more disposable income. As people attain more education and income, they’re likely to switch from cheap beer (Miller Lite) and cheap booze (Seagrams gin, Jim Beam bourbon) to better and more expensive beer (say, Dogfish Head 120) and booze (Bombay Sapphire gin, Macallan 12 Scotch). Also, they’ll drink wine that comes in bottles not boxes. Additionally, they’ll be more likely to drink at bars and pricey restaurants, thinking nothing of paying $6 for a pint of beer, $9 for a glass of wine, or $12 for a cocktail. Alternatively – and not exclusive of the above–they’re more likely to have high stress jobs and drink on a daily basis.
- Expenditures on beer double between the lowest and highest income quintiles.
- Expenditures on wine quintuple.
- Expenditures on "other" (mostly mixed drinks, I assume) also quintuple.
- Expenditures on alcohol consumed at home go up 170% while expenditures on alcohol consumed elsewhere go up 600%.
Kevin's conclusion: "...wealthier people might drink more alcohol than poor people, but probably not by much. Mostly they just buy more expensive stuff at home as well as more pricey drinks in bars and restaurants."
Does that sound right to you?