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Inquiry. 1989 Summer;26(2):272-82.

Life-cycle effects of alcoholism on education, earnings, and occupation.


In this article we examine the life-cycle effects of alcoholism on human capital formation and labor market outcomes. We attempt empirically to unravel some of the complicated structural relationships among family background, educational attainment, labor force participation, earnings, and current as well as past alcoholism. Access to a new data set allows us to study some of these relationships. The Epidemiological Catchment Area data set contains not only the standard socioeconomic and demographic variables but also information on family background and age of onset of symptoms and current alcoholism. Thus, when estimating models of occupational choice and earnings, we can assess both the indirect and the direct effects of alcoholism. We find that early onset of alcoholism significantly retards educational attainment.

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