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Does alcohol consumption reduce human capital accumulation? Evidence from the College Alcohol Study

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  • Jenny Williams
  • Lisa Powell
  • Henry Wechsler

Abstract

It is often conjectured that a significant cost of youthful drinking is the future labour market consequences of having accumulated a lower stock of human capital. While several studies have investigated the effect of youthful drinking on the quantity of human capital stock accumulated, measured by years of education completed or high-school graduation, this paper investigates the effect of alcohol consumption on the quality of human capital stock accumulated as measured by college students GPA. Using data from the Harvard School of Public Health's College Alcohol Study, the indirect effect of the quantity of alcohol consumed on GPA is estimated through hours spent studying as well as the direct effect. Results show that the net total effect of alcohol consumption on GPA is negative for the sample of college students, and that the main effect is via a reduction in the hours spent studying. This finding confirms that high levels of alcohol consumption have an overall negative consequence for academic achievement, and hence future labour market outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2003)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
Pages: 1227-1239

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:35:y:2003:i:10:p:1227-1239

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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Renna, 2007. "The economic cost of teen drinking: late graduation and lowered earnings," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(4), pages 407-419.
  2. Pinka Chatterji & Jeffrey DeSimone, 2006. "High School Alcohol Use and Young Adult Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael T. French & Johanna C. Maclean, 2006. "Underage alcohol use, delinquency, and criminal activity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(12), pages 1261-1281.
  4. Ji Yan & Sally Brocksen, 2013. "Adolescent Risk Perception, Substance Use, and Educational Attainment," Working Papers 13-12, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  5. Renna, Francesco, 2008. "Teens' alcohol consumption and schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 69-78, February.
  6. Hahn, Ellen J DNS, RN & Rayens, Mary Kay PhD & Chaloupka, Frank J. PhD & Okoli, Chizimuzo T.C. BSN, RN & Yang, Jun MS, 2002. "Projected Smoking-Related Deaths Among U.S. Youth: A 2000 Update," University of California at San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education qt8j85j2ct, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UC San Francisco.
  7. van Ours, Jan C & Williams, Jenny, 2007. "Why Parents Worry: Initiation into Cannabis Use by Youth and their Educational Attainment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6449, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Cowan, Benjamin W., 2011. "Forward-thinking teens: The effects of college costs on adolescent risky behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 813-825, October.
  9. Balsa, Ana I. & Giuliano, Laura M. & French, Michael T., 2011. "The effects of alcohol use on academic achievement in high school," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-15, February.
  10. Sarah Grace See, 2013. "The Riskiest of Them All: Parental Supervision and Adolescent Behaviors," CHILD Working Papers Series 21, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  11. Jeff DeSimone & Amy M. Wolaver, 2005. "Drinking and Academic Performance in High School," NBER Working Papers 11035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Donata Bessey & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Marijuana Consumption, Educational Outcomes and Labor Market Success: Evidence from Switzerland," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0043, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  13. Jenny Williams, 2005. "Habit formation and college students' demand for alcohol," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 119-134.
  14. Pinka Chatterji & Jeff DeSimone, 2005. "Adolescent Drinking and High School Dropout," NBER Working Papers 11337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Lindo, Jason M. & Swensen, Isaac D. & Waddell, Glen R., 2011. "Alcohol and Student Performance: Estimating the Effect of Legal Access," IZA Discussion Papers 5525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Lan Liang & Jidong Huang, 2008. "Go out or stay in? The effects of zero tolerance laws on alcohol use and drinking and driving patterns among college students," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1261-1275.

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