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Marijuana use and high school dropout: the influence of unobservables

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  • Daniel F. McCaffrey

    (The RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

    (The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA)

  • Bing Han

    (The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA)

  • Phyllis Ellickson

    (The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA)

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    Abstract

    In this study, we reconsider the relationship between heavy and persistent marijuana use and high school dropout status. Using a unique prospective panel study of over 4500 7th grade students from South Dakota who are followed through high school, we developed propensity score weights to adjust for baseline differences found to exist before marijuana initiation occurs for most students (7th grade). We then used weighted logistic regression that incorporates these propensity score weights to examine the extent to which time-varying factors, including substance use, also influence the likelihood of dropping out of school. We found a positive association between marijuana use and dropping out (OR=5.6, RR=3.8), over half of which was explained by prior differences in observational characteristics and behaviors. The remaining association (OR=2.4, RR=1.7) became statistically insignificant when measures of cigarette smoking were included in the analysis. Because cigarette smoking is unlikely to seriously impair cognition, we interpret this result as evidence that the association between marijuana use and high school dropout is unlikely to be due to its adverse effects on cognition. We then explored which constructs drive this result, determining that they are time-varying parental and peer influences. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 11 ()
    Pages: 1281-1299

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:11:p:1281-1299

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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    1. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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    3. Jan C. van Ours, 2006. "Dynamics in the use of drugs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(12), pages 1283-1294.
    4. Pinka Chatterji, 2003. "Illicit Drug Use and Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 10045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Sander, William, 1998. "The effects of schooling and cognitive ability on smoking and marijuana use by young adults," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 317-324, June.
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    11. Jeremy W. Bray & Gary A. Zarkin & Chris Ringwalt & Junfeng Qi, 2000. "The relationship between marijuana initiation and dropping out of high school," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 9-18.
    12. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 93-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    15. Tetsuji Yamada & Michael Kendix & Tadashi Yamada, 1993. "The Impact of Alcohol Consumption and Marijuana Use on High School Graduation," NBER Working Papers 4497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Zhao, Meng & Konishi, Yoshifumi & Glewwe, Paul, 2012. "Does smoking affect schooling? Evidence from teenagers in rural China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 584-598.
    2. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Trinh Le & Duncan McVicar & Rong Zhang, 2013. ""High"-School: The Relationship between Early Marijuana Use and Educational Outcomes," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne wp2013n38, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Pudney, Stephen & Bryan, Mark & DelBono, Emilia, 2013. "Licensing and regulation of the cannabis market in England and Wales: Towards a cost-benefit analysis," MPRA Paper 50365, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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