Apparently the societies that drink together, stay (exclusive) together. Over at Reason, they’ve found a pretty interesting study that notes the correlation between societies that consume alcohol and those that practice monogamy. This, of course, would seem counter-intuitive to most because, as anyone would tell you, it’s almost impossible to get a good, suburban Key Party going without some social lubricant.
The study was done as a working paper entitled “Women or Wine? Monogamy and Alcohol.” It was carried out by Mara Squicciarini and Jo Swinnen for the American Association of Wine Economists which is a…thing that I want to be a part of. Here’s the abstract from the paper:
“Intriguingly, across the world the main social groups which practice polygyny do not consume alcohol. We investigate whether there is a correlation between alcohol consumption and polygynous/monogamous arrangements, both over time and across cultures. Historically, we find a correlation between the shift from polygyny to monogamy and the growth of alcohol consumption. Cross-culturally we also find that monogamous societies consume more alcohol than polygynous societies in the preindustrial world. We provide a series of possible explanations to explain the positive correlation between monogamy and alcohol consumption over time and across societies.”
So, give it a read (the whole thing can be found in PDF form here). It will almost certainly give you something to talk about at your next party, Key or otherwise. You can discuss the findings, debate the causality, and even marvel at the fact that the American Association of Wine Economists is something that exists.
Seriously, they sound awesome.
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