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Does alcohol use during high school affect educational attainment?: Evidence from the National Education Longitudinal Study

Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, 120 Beacon Street, 4th Floor, Somerville, MA 02143, USA
Economics of Education Review (Impact Factor: 1.07). 10/2006; 25(5):482-497. DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2005.05.005
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT This paper uses data from the National Education Longitudinal Study to estimate the association between high school alcohol use and educational attainment measured around age 26. Initially, the effect of alcohol use on educational attainment is estimated using baseline probit models, which ignore the possibility that unmeasured determinants of alcohol use and educational attainment are correlated. A bivariate probit model is used next to estimate the equations jointly, with alcohol policies as identifying variables. Because these identifying variables are problematic, the bivariate probit model is then re-estimated without any identifying exclusions but with the correlation coefficient fixed at various levels. This part of the analysis allows one to gauge the sensitivity of the estimates to correlation between the unobservable determinants of both outcomes. The results suggest that alcohol use is associated with reductions in educational attainment, but there is little evidence that this association represents a causal relationship.

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