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Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach

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

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

  • Scott E. Carrell & Mark Hoekstra & James E. West, 2010. "Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach," NBER Working Papers 16330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16330
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    1. Jeffrey A. Miron & Elina Tetelbaum, 2009. "Does The Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 317-336, April.
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    More about this item

    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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