Is there a better blog post title?  Here is the abstract of a new paper, "Women or Wine, Monogamy and Alcohol":

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.

That's by Mara Squicciarini and Jo Swinnen.

1 Kredyty Mieszkaniowe December 27, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Feels like it's moving us back to ancient times when man was a leader of his pack/pride and he lived in polygyny…

2 David December 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Shouldn't the title be "Women OR Alcohol?"

3 Six Ounces December 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Being stuck with one woman is enough to drive you to drink.

4 **** December 27, 2010 at 11:52 pm

I think its more that alcohol allows women to be willing to have sex with lower status males. It also increases the sexual desire so they are more likely to pick a lower status male.

5 Dan Weber December 28, 2010 at 6:59 am

Keeping multiple relationships in peace is harder than keeping one relationship in peace. You don't want to get drunk and tell one wife what you really think of another wife.

6 TUI December 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

Could it be that perhaps the individuals who live in polygynous societies didn't have access to alcoholic beverages? There's a big difference between correlation and causation. Another possibility is the fact that dating is more prevalent in monogamous societies and dating goes hand in hand with alcohol. Whereas polygynous societies tend to be more traditional; for example in China a rich nobleman could have three wives by purchasing the women literally; no dating required.

7 Dylan December 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

I think the Old 97's put it best:

I've got my wife, the other women, and the whiskey killing me.
The first two make it so that I see red. The third one makes it so that I can't see.
If I had half a brain left after my debauchery,
I'd give up the other women, and the W-I-F-E.

8 Steve Sailer December 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I suspect that alcohol facilitates the evolution of personalities that are shy, cautious, and future-oriented most of the time, but can still use a few drinks to overcome their inhibitions long enough to acquire a mate.

9 B.Russ December 29, 2010 at 7:45 am

Roy – the main congregation of Mormonism (The LDS church) was known to drink beer and wine without much reserve during the same time period that they practiced polygyny. The church started outlawing alcoholic consumtion within a decade of discontinuing plural marriage. No statistical "control" necessary.

As for Islam, you probably have a good point.

10 bob January 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

Interesting that the paper completely ignores the latest research (primate and avian) showing females are as promiscuous as men and physcological studies show that women have the same issues dealing with monogamy as men do.

11 Todd January 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

Haven't had a chance to read this yet, so it may be covered… but I am curious to what extent access to liquor, while perhaps not correlated to polygamy, is in fact correlated to infidelity…. thus making things not quite so monogamous.

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