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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny Williams & Lisa Powell & Henry Wechsler, 2003. "Does alcohol consumption reduce human capital accumulation? Evidence from the College Alcohol Study," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(10), pages 1227-1239.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:35:y:2003:i:10:p:1227-1239
    DOI: 10.1080/0003684032000090735
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Ji Yan & Sally Brocksen, 2013. "Adolescent risk perception, substance use, and educational attainment," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(8), pages 1037-1055, September.
    3. Ajilore, Olugbenga & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Egan, Keven, 2016. "Alcohol consumption by youth: Peers, parents, or prices?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 76-83.
    4. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2009. "Why parents worry: Initiation into cannabis use by youth and their educational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 132-142, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Ou Yang & Xueyan Zhao & Preety Srivastava, 2015. "Binge Drinking, Antisocial and Unlawful Behaviours, and Beverage Types," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n03, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    7. 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.
    8. Renna, Francesco, 2008. "Teens' alcohol consumption and schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 69-78, February.
    9. 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.
    10. Jenny Williams, 2005. "Habit formation and college students' demand for alcohol," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 119-134.
    11. 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.
    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, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    13. Jeff DeSimone, 2010. "Drinking and academic performance in high school," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(12), pages 1481-1497.
    14. Joseph J. Sabia, 2010. "Wastin' Away In Margaritaville? New Evidence On The Academic Effects Of Teenage Binge Drinking," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
    15. 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.
    16. John Robst & Jennifer VanGilder, 2011. "The role of childhood sexual victimization in the occupational choice of adults," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 341-354.
    17. 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.
    18. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:132-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.
    20. Pinka Chatterji & Jeff DeSimone, 2005. "Adolescent Drinking and High School Dropout," NBER Working Papers 11337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Ou Yang & Xueyan Zhao & Preety Srivastava, 2016. "Binge Drinking and Antisocial and Unlawful Behaviours in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 222-240, June.
    22. Mangiavacchi, Lucia & Piccoli, Luca, 2018. "Parental alcohol consumption and adult children's educational attainment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 132-145.
    23. 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.
    24. 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.
    25. 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.

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