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Does drinking impair college performance? Evidence from a regression discontinuity approach

  • Carrell, Scott E.
  • Hoekstra, Mark
  • West, James E.

This paper examines the effect of alcohol consumption on student achievement. To do so, we exploit the discontinuity in drinking at age 21 at a college in which the minimum legal drinking age is strictly enforced. We find that drinking causes significant reductions in academic performance, particularly for the highest-performing students. This suggests that the negative consequences of alcohol consumption extend beyond the narrow segment of the population at risk of more severe, low-frequency, outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272710001143
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 54-62

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1:p:54-62
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2009. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 164-82, January.
  2. Jeff DeSimone & Amy M. Wolaver, 2005. "Drinking and Academic Performance in High School," NBER Working Papers 11035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  4. Fertig, Angela R. & Watson, Tara, 2009. "Minimum drinking age laws and infant health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 737-747, May.
  5. Miron, Jeffrey A. & Tetelbaum, Elina, 2009. "Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?," Scholarly Articles 4319664, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, 06.
  7. Bisakha Sen, 2003. "Can Beer Taxes Affect Teen Pregnancy? Evidence Based on Teen Abortion Rates and Birth Rates," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 328-343, October.
  8. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "The Effects of Minimum Legal Drinking Ages on Teen Childbearing," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(4), pages 823-838.
  9. Dave, Dhaval & Kaestner, Robert, 2002. "Alcohol taxes and labor market outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 357-371, May.
  10. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "State alcohol policies, teen drinking and traffic fatalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 289-315, May.
  11. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1996. "Binge Drinking In College: The Impact Of Price, Availability, And Alcohol Control Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 112-124, October.
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