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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Carrell, Scott E. & Hoekstra, Mark & West, James E., 2011. "Does drinking impair college performance? Evidence from a regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 54-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1:p:54-62
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.08.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    11. 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, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Marie & Ulf Zölitz, 2017. "“High” Achievers? Cannabis Access and Academic Performance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 1210-1237.
    2. Benjamin W. Cowan & Dustin R. White, 2014. "The Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid on Drinking in College," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 346, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    3. Lindo, Jason M. & Swensen, Isaac D. & Waddell, Glen R., 2013. "Alcohol and student performance: Estimating the effect of legal access," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 22-32.
    4. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:102-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Yörük, Barış K., 2014. "Can technology help to reduce underage drinking? Evidence from the false ID laws with scanner provision," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 33-46.
    6. Jason M. Lindo & Peter Siminski & Oleg Yerokhin, 2016. "Breaking The Link Between Legal Access To Alcohol And Motor Vehicle Accidents: Evidence From New South Wales," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(7), pages 908-928, July.
    7. Marcus, Jan & Siedler, Thomas, 2015. "Reducing binge drinking? The effect of a ban on late-night off-premise alcohol sales on alcohol-related hospital stays in Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 55-77.
    8. Ceren Ertan Yörük & Barış Yörük, 2015. "Alcohol consumption and risky sexual behavior among young adults: evidence from minimum legal drinking age laws," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 133-157, January.
    9. Christopher S. Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin & Casey Warman, 2016. "The Mechanisms of Alcohol Control," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 328-356.
    10. Jason M. Lindo & Isaac D. Swensen & Glen R. Waddell, 2012. "Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 254-274, October.
    11. Jeffrey S. Smith & James E. West, 2012. "Retirement Pay and Officer Retention," NBER Working Papers 18502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ertan Yörük, Ceren & Yörük, Barış K., 2012. "The impact of drinking on psychological well-being: Evidence from minimum drinking age laws in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(10), pages 1844-1854.
    13. Marigee Bacolod & Jesse M. Cunha & Yu-Chu Shen, 2017. "The Impact of Alcohol on Mental Health, Physical Fitness, and Job Performance," NBER Working Papers 23542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cowan, Benjamin W. & White, Dustin R., 2015. "The effects of merit-based financial aid on drinking in college," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 137-149.
    15. BARONE, Adriana & NESE, Annamaria, 2017. "Investment in Education, Obesity and Health Behaviours," CELPE Discussion Papers 146, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    16. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2014. "The Short-term Effectiveness of a Remedial Mathematics Course: Evidence from a UK University," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 363-384, June.
    17. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:132-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Marie O. & Zölitz U.N., 2015. "‘High’ achievers? Cannabis access and academic performance," Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    19. Peralta, Maria Alexandra & Swinton, Scott M. & Maredia, Mywish K., 2011. "Accounting for selection bias in impact analysis of a rural development program: An application using propensity score matching," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126398, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    20. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Rank, Sex, Drugs, and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 9478, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Mangiavacchi, Lucia & Piccoli, Luca, 2018. "Parental alcohol consumption and adult children's educational attainment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 132-145.
    22. Daniel I. Rees, 2014. "Does substance use affect educational outcomes?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-66, May.
    23. Eisenberg, Daniel & Golberstein, Ezra & Whitlock, Janis L., 2014. "Peer effects on risky behaviors: New evidence from college roommate assignments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 126-138.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public health; Education;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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