NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach

Scott E. Carrell, Mark Hoekstra, James E. West

NBER Working Paper No. 16330
Issued in September 2010
NBER Program(s):   ED   HE   LS   PE

This paper examines the effect of alcohol consumption on student achievement. To do so, we exploit the discontinuity in drinking at age 21 at a college in which the minimum legal drinking age is strictly enforced. We find that drinking causes significant reductions in academic performance, particularly for the highest-performing students. This suggests that the negative consequences of alcohol consumption extend beyond the narrow segment of the population at risk of more severe, low-frequency, outcomes.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16330

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