Does alcohol lubricate Putnam’s social capital?

Minnesota ranks among worst in DWIs, study shows
“Minnesota has one of the nation’s worst drunken driving rates, said a government report that says 15 percent of adult drivers nationally report driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous year. Here are the states with the worst records:
1. Wisconsin, 26.4 percent
2. North Dakota, 26.4 percent
3. Minnesota, 23.5 percent
4. Nebraska, 22.9 percent
5. South Dakota, 21.6 percent”
Note, these are also almost exactly the states with the highest social capital according to Robert Putnam’s index (see the book Bowling Alone)
Table 4.1 Social capital scores by state
Rank State Score
1 North Dakota 1.712
2 South Dakota 1.693
3 Vermont 1.424
4 Minnesota 1.325
5 Montana 1.296
6 Nebraska 1.157
7 Iowa 0.988
8 New Hampshire 0.779
9 Wyoming 0.6710
10 Washington 0.6511
11 Wisconsin 0.5912
12 Oregon 0.57
(Source: Putnam 2000)
(Kevin Krizek and I discuss Putnam’s social capital idea in the book Planning for Place and Plexus
This raises the interesting question: does alcohol lubricate Putnam’s social capital?
From a social perspective, drinking alone at home may be better than drinking away from home. But what do I know, I am a teetotaler.

One thought on “Does alcohol lubricate Putnam’s social capital?”

  1. These numbers are self-reported and say nothing about the individual’s level of intoxication during the episode in which he/she drove under the influence during the previous year. Nor is there any indication of the frequency with which they drove under the influence (all we know is that it was not zero).
    There is a reason we set blood-alcohol limits for drivers. Not everyone on the road is equally likely to cause, or be involved in , a crash. Good public policy should recognize this. Bad research apparently does not.

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