Last week, Nice advised women to avoid alcohol whilst they were pregnant. New economic research supports this, as it suggests that drinking during pregancy has long-term effects upon the child's educational attainments and earnings.
To establish this, J. Peter Nilsson looked (pdf) at the effect of a liberalization of Sweden's tough alcohol laws back in the 60s. In November 1967, two Swedish counties, Varmland and Gothenburg & Bohus, allowed ordinary grocery stores to sell strong beer. As a result, beer consumption in these counties leapt 10-fold, until the ban was re-imposed in July 1968.
And Mr Nilsson found that children in these two counties who were conceived just before the liberalization - and hence were likely to be exposed to more alcohol in the womb - did far worse in life than children in counties where alcohol was liberalized, or who were conceived in the two counties after the ban was re-imposed.
He found that men exposed to the extra drinking, on average, completed half a year less schooling than those who weren't exposed. And, at age 30, both men and women who were exposed earned one-fifth lower wages than those who weren't exposed - a massive effect.
If this sounds like the puritans are right, cheer up - exposure to alcohol after you've been born seems to raise wages.