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Econ Educ Rev. 2011 Feb;30(1):1-15.

The effects of alcohol use on academic achievement in high school.

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Research Professor, Center for Applied Research on Poverty, Family, and Education, Department of Economics, Universidad de Montevideo; Prudencio de Pena 2440, Montevideo, 11600, Uruguay; ext 300; ext 325;


This paper examines the effects of alcohol use on high school students' quality of learning. We estimate fixed-effects models using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Our primary measure of academic achievement is the student's GPA abstracted from official school transcripts. We find that increases in alcohol consumption result in small yet statistically significant reductions in GPA for male students and in statistically non-significant changes for females. For females, however, higher levels of drinking result in self-reported academic difficulty. The fixed-effects results are substantially smaller than OLS estimates, underscoring the importance of addressing unobserved individual heterogeneity.

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