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‘High’ achievers? Cannabis access and academic performance

Olivier Marie () and Zölitz U.N.
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Zölitz U.N.: GSBE

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Ulf Zölitz

No 8, Research Memorandum from Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE)

Abstract: This paper investigates how legal cannabis access affects student performance. Identification comes from an exceptional policy introduced in the city of Maastricht which discriminated legal access based on individuals nationality. We apply a difference-in-difference approach using administrative panel data on over 54,000 course grades of local students enrolled at Maastricht University before and during the partial cannabis prohibition. We find that the academic performance of students who are no longer legally permitted to buy cannabis increases substantially. Grade improvements are driven by younger students, and the effects are stronger for women and low performers. In line with how THC consumption affects cognitive functioning, we find that performance gains are larger for courses that require more numerical/mathematical skills. We investigate the underlying channels using students course evaluations and present suggestive evidence that performance gains are driven by improved understanding of material rather than changes in students study effort.

Keywords: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health; Education and Research Institutions: General; Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 I20 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu
Date: 2015
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