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The Effects of Alcohol Use on High School Absenteeism

Wesley A. Austin

The American Economist, 2012, vol. 57, issue 2, 238-252

Abstract: Controversy has surrounded the effects of alcohol use on educational outcomes such as GPA, and, while some issues have been addressed, important questions regarding human capital effects remain. For example, might drinking causally increase school absenteeism (which is arguably connected to educational outcomes), or merely be correlated via unobservable factors? This paper will shed further light on the issue by estimating the causal impact of drinking on the number of school days missed due to “skipping†and due to illness or injury. Utilizing data from the NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health), an instrumental variable model is estimated to study the effects of several drinking measures on these outcomes and extensive testing is conducted to verify instrument strength and exogeneity. Results indicate that alcohol use increases absenteeism among high school students (which could have deleterious effects on educational outcomes). And the results are generally consistent across instrument specifications.

Keywords: drinking; human capital; health; economics; truancy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1177/056943451205700208

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