NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Marijuana Use and High School Dropout: The Influence of Unobservables

Daniel F. McCaffrey, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Bing Han, Phyllis Ellickson

NBER Working Paper No. 14102
Issued in June 2008
NBER Program(s):   HE

In this study we reconsider the relationship between heavy and persistent marijuana use and high school dropout status using a unique prospective panel study of over 4500 7th grade students from South Dakota who are followed up through high school. Propensity score weighting is used to adjust for baseline differences that are found to exist before marijuana initiation occurs (7th grade). Weighted logistic regression incorporating these propensity score weights is then used to examine the extent to which time-varying factors, including substance use, also influence the likelihood of dropping out of school. We find a positive association between marijuana use and dropping out (OR=5.68), over half of which can be explained by prior differences in observational characteristics and behaviors. The remaining association (OR=2.31) is made statistically insignificant when measures of cigarette smoking are included in the analysis. Because no physiological justification can be provided for why cigarette smoking would reduce the cognitive effects of marijuana on schooling, we interpret this as evidence that the association is due to other factors. We then use the rich data to explore which constructs are driving this result, determining that it is time-varying parental and peer influences.

download in pdf format
   (132 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (132 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14102

Published: Marijuana Use and High School Dropout The Influence of Unobservables by Daniel F. McCaffrey, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Bing Han, Phyllis L. Ellickson Save to My RAND Print Share Cover: Marijuana Use and High School Dropout Published In: Health Economics, v. 19, no. 11, Nov. 2010, p. 1281-1299

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Pacula, , and Ringel w9963 Does Marijuana Use Impair Human Capital Formation?
Yamada, Kendix, and Yamada w4497 The Impact of Alcohol Consumption and Marijuana Use on High School Graduation
Chatterji and DeSimone w11337 Adolescent Drinking and High School Dropout
Williams, Pacula, Chaloupka, and Wechsler w8401 Alcohol and Marijuana Use Among College Students: Economic Complements or Substitutes?
Pacula and Kilmer w10046 Marijuana and Crime: Is there a Connection Beyond Prohibition?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us