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Alcohol and Student Performance: Estimating the Effect of Legal Access

  • Jason M. Lindo
  • Isaac D. Swensen
  • Glen R. Waddell

We consider the effect of legal access to alcohol on student achievement. We first estimate the effect using an RD design but argue that this approach is not well suited to the research question in our setting. Our preferred approach instead exploits the longitudinal nature of the data, identifying the effect by measuring the extent to which a student's performance changes after he gains legal access to alcohol, controlling flexibly for the expected evolution of grades as students make progress towards their degrees. We find that students' grades fall below their expected levels upon being able to drink legally, but by less than previously documented. We also show that there are effects on women and that the effects are persistent.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17637.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17637.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17637
Note: ED LE PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. 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.
  2. John Mullahy & Jody L. Sindelar, 1995. "Employment, Unemployment, and Problem Drinking," NBER Working Papers 5123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Alan I. Barreca & Jason M. Lindo & Glen R. Waddell, 2011. "Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression-Discontinuity Designs," NBER Working Papers 17408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Christopher S. Carpenter, 2005. "Heavy Alcohol Use and the Commission of Nuisance Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk Driving Laws," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 267-272, May.
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  11. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2004. "Economic Impacts of Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001," NBER Working Papers 10598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2004. "Economic Impacts of New Unionization On Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1383-1441, November.
  13. 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.
  14. DeSimone, Jeff, 2007. "Fraternity membership and binge drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 950-967, September.
  15. Sen, Bisakha, 2002. "Does alcohol-use increase the risk of sexual intercourse among adolescents? Evidence from the NLSY97," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1085-1093, November.
  16. Chesson, Harrell & Harrison, Paul & Kassler, William J, 2000. "Sex Under the Influence: The Effect of Alcohol Policy on Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates in the United States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 215-38, April.
  17. Carpenter, Christopher, 2005. "Youth alcohol use and risky sexual behavior: evidence from underage drunk driving laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 613-628, May.
  18. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2007. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age," NBER Working Papers 13374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Jeffrey S. DeSimone, 2006. "Fraternity Membership and Binge Drinking," NBER Working Papers 12468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "State alcohol policies, teen drinking and traffic fatalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 289-315, May.
  21. Rees, Daniel I. & Argys, Laura M. & Averett, Susan L., 2001. "New evidence on the relationship between substance use and adolescent sexual behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 835-845, September.
  22. Jason M. Lindo & Isaac D. Swensen & Glen R. Waddell, 2011. "Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 17677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Francesco Renna, 2008. "Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and Labor Market Outcomes: Looking for the Missing Link," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(1), pages 92-103, October.
  24. Lisa Powell & Jenny Williams & Henry Wechsler, 2004. "Study habits and the level of alcohol use among college students," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 135-149.
  25. Ziggy MacDonald & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Does problem drinking affect employment? Evidence from England," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(2), pages 139-155.
  26. 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.
  27. Alan I. Barreca & Melanie Guldi & Jason M. Lindo & Glen R. Waddell, 2011. "Saving Babies? Revisiting the effect of very low birth weight classification," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 2117-2123.
  28. Rashad, Inas & Kaestner, Robert, 2004. "Teenage sex, drugs and alcohol use: problems identifying the cause of risky behaviors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 493-503, May.
  29. Glen R. Waddell, 2012. "Gender And The Influence Of Peer Alcohol Consumption On Adolescent Sexual Activity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 248-263, 01.
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  31. Christopher Carpenter, 2004. "Heavy alcohol use and youth suicide: Evidence from tougher drunk driving laws," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 831-842.
  32. Michael Kremer & Dan Levy, 2008. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use among College Students," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 189-206, Summer.
  33. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2011. "The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Public Health," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 133-56, Spring.
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