Monogamous societies drink more (but don’t know why)

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"Across the world the main social groups which practice polygyny do not consume alcohol," reads the abstract of a paper titled "Women or Wine? Monogamy and Alcohol." Written about on the NYT's Freakonomics blog, the paper concludes that there's a historical "correlation between the shift from polygyny to monogamy and the growth of alcohol consumption."

The paper's authors were inspired to look into the matter after observing that "the two social/religious groups that do allow polygamy ((parts of) Mormonism and Islam) also do not consume alcohol."

"We collected information on the historical evolution of both (mono/polygamy and alcohol use) and on cross-cultural/country evidence. We found that there is a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and monogamy both over time and across (pre-industrial) societies."

But they don't exactly claim to know why this is:

"Our explanation/hypothesis in the paper is that the correlation is “spurious” in the sense that we do not find evidence/arguments for direct causality between both, but that other factors affect both alcohol consumption and the shift from polygamy to monogamy."

Research papers like this always remind me of that dude in The Little Prince, the one who drank to forget his problems but couldn't remember his problems because he drank too much, or something.