Beer Money


A new paper (pdf) by Liesbeth Colen and Johan Swinnen study global alcohol consumption. From the abstract:

Recently, China has overtaken the US as the largest beer economy. A quantitative empirical analysis shows that the relationship between income and beer consumption has an inverse U-shape. Beer consumption initially increases with rising incomes, but at higher levels of income beer consumption falls. Increased openness to trade and globalization has contributed to a convergence in alcohol consumption patterns across countries. In countries that were originally “beer drinking nations”, the share of beer in total alcohol consumption reduced while this is not the case in countries which traditionally drank mostly wine or spirits. Climatic conditions, religion, and relative prices also influence beer consumption.

Felix Salmon looks closer to home:

I would imagine that this relationship could also be found within the U.S. — that states increase their beer consumption as they grow to an income of about $22,000 per capita, and thereafter see their beer consumption drop as their wine consumption increases.