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Alcohol Use, Human Capital, and Wages


  • Jeremy W. Bray

    (RTI International)


This article develops and estimates a model of wage determination that isolates the effects of alcohol use on wages as mediated through human capital accumulation. Although generally insignificant, estimation results suggest that moderate alcohol use while in school or working has a positive effect on the returns to education or experience, and therefore on human capital accumulation, but heavier drinking reduces this gain slightly. Based on these results, alcohol use does not appear to adversely affect returns to education or work experience and therefore has no negative effect on the efficiency of education or experience in forming human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy W. Bray, 2005. "Alcohol Use, Human Capital, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 279-312, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:23:y:2005:i:2:p:279-312

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
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    5. French, Michael T. & Zarkin, Gary A., 1995. "Is moderate alcohol use related to wages? Evidence from four worksites," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-344, August.
    6. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    7. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    8. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    9. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1997. "Estimates Of The Returns To Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons, And Brothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-9, February.
    10. Cook, Philip J. & Moore, Michael J., 1993. "Drinking and schooling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 411-429, December.
    11. Thomas MaCurdy & Thomas Mroz & R. Mark Gritz, 1998. "An Evaluation of the National Longitudinal Survey on Youth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 345-436.
    12. Amy M. Wolaver, 2002. "Effects Of Heavy Drinking In College On Study Effort, Grade Point Average, And Major Choice," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 415-428, October.
    13. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-799, July.
    14. SF Koch & DC Ribar, 2001. "A Siblings Analysis Of The Effects Of Alcohol Consumption Onset On Educational Attainment," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(2), pages 162-174, April.
    15. Thomas S. Dee & William N. Evans, 2003. "Teen Drinking and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimates," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 178-209, January.
    16. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1983:73:5:521-526_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Zarkin, Gary A. & French, Michael T. & Mroz, Thomas & Bray, Jeremy W., 1998. "Alcohol use and wages: New results from the national household survey on drug abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 53-68, January.
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