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"High"-School: The Relationship between Early Marijuana Use and Educational Outcomes

  • Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

    ()

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Sonja C. Kassenboehmer

    ()

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Trinh Le

    (Department of Economics, The University of Waikato)

  • Duncan McVicar

    (Queen's University Management School, Queen's University, Belfast)

  • Rong Zhang

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

We use unique survey data linked to nearly a decade of administrative welfare data to examine the relationship between early marijuana use (at age 14 or younger) and young people’s educational outcomes. We find evidence that early marijuana use is related to educational penalties that are compounded by high-intensity use and are larger for young people living in families with a history of welfare receipt. The relationships between marijuana use and both high school completion and achieving a university entrance score appear to stem from selectivity into the use of marijuana. In contrast, early marijuana use is associated with significantly lower university entrance score for those who obtain one and we provide evidence that this effect is unlikely to be driven by selection. Collectively, these findings point to a more nuanced view of the relationship between adolescent marijuana use and educational outcomes than is suggested by the existing literature.

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File URL: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2013n38.pdf
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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2013n38.

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Length: 41pp
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2013n38
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/Email:


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  1. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Chris Ryan & Ana Sartbayeva, 2009. "Taking Chances: The Effect of Growing Up on Welfare on the Risky Behaviour of Young People," CEPR Discussion Papers 604, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Pinka Chatterji, 2003. "Illicit Drug Use and Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 10045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," JCPR Working Papers 154, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  4. Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub01-1.
  5. Michael T. French & Ioana Popovici, 2011. "That instrument is lousy! In search of agreement when using instrumental variables estimation in substance use research," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 127-146, 02.
  6. Jan C. van Ours & Jenny Williams, 2007. "Why Parents Worry: Initiation into Cannabis Use by Youth and their Educational Attainment," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1013, The University of Melbourne.
  7. Stephen Pudney, 2003. "The Road to Ruin? Sequences of Initiation to Drugs and Crime in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C182-C198, March.
  8. Edward C. Norton & Hua Wang & Chunrong Ai, 2004. "Computing interaction effects and standard errors in logit and probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 154-167, June.
  9. 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., vol. 9(1), pages 9-18.
  10. Aizer, Anna, 2004. "Home alone: supervision after school and child behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1835-1848, August.
  11. Simon Burgess & Karen Gardiner & Carol Propper, 2001. "Growing up: school, family and area influences on adolescents' later life chances," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6432, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daniel F. McCaffrey & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Bing Han & Phyllis Ellickson, 2010. "Marijuana use and high school dropout: the influence of unobservables," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(11), pages 1281-1299.
  14. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  15. Charles Register & Donald Williams & Paul Grimes, 2001. "Adolescent Drug Use and Educational Attainment," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 1-18.
  16. Roebuck, M. Christopher & French, Michael T. & Dennis, Michael L., 2004. "Adolescent marijuana use and school attendance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 133-141, April.
  17. 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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