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Lawyers Prefer Coke

Cocaine Lawyers, it seems, prefer coke. And we refer not to soft drinks, but to drugs. As between cocaine and marijuana, occupations show a clear divide in their drug of choice. For lawyers, the choice is cocaine.

Over the past week, Richard Florida has written a series of posts for The Atlantic in which he and two colleagues slice and dice data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health to create a picture of the relationship between drug use and various political, economic and psychological characteristics of states. In his latest entry, This Is Your Occupation on Drugs, he looks at the relationship between drug use and specific types of professional and creative jobs.

Occupations sort relatively neatly along the lines of marijuana versus cocaine use. The short of it is that marijuana use is more positively associated with science (.35), education (.38), artistic professions (.35), and engineering and architecture (.29), while cocaine use is positively associated with lawyers (.41) and, to a lesser extent, with business and finance occupations (.27), computer jobs (.25), and management fields (.26).

So what are we to make of this? Florida puts the question to one of his colleagues in analyzing this data, Peter J. Rentfrow, a lecturer in social and developmental psychology at the University of Cambridge.

I think it's interesting that cocaine is high for finance, law, and quant professions. Although we can't infer whether it's people in those jobs actually doing drugs, those professions are generally regarded as intense and lavish. So it's interesting that an expensive stimulant like cocaine is used more often in places where comparatively large numbers of people work in intense and high-paying jobs ...

What I think is particularly interesting about the results is that most professions possess elements of income, education, and personality. Even in those cases where lawyers and architects make similar amounts of money, they're very different lines of work and appeal to different types of people.

What Rentfrow seems to be saying is that intense professionals are more likely to prefer cocaine while mellow professionals are more likely to prefer marijuana. If so, one can only wonder what might happen if one day the intense professions and the mellow professions got their drugs mixed up.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 14, 2009 at 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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