Sex, Drugs, and Catholic Schools: Private Schooling and Non-Market Adolescent Behaviors

David Figlio, Jens Ludwig

NBER Working Paper No. 7990
Issued in November 2000
NBER Program(s):   HE

This paper examines the effects of private schooling on adolescent non-market behaviors. We control for differences between private and public school students by making use of the rich set of covariates available with our NELS micro-dataset. We also employ an instrumental-variables strategy that exploits variation across metropolitan areas in the costs that parents face in transporting their children to private schools, which stem from differences in the quality of the local transportation infrastructure. We find evidence to suggest that religious private schooling reduces teen sexual activity, arrests, and use of hard drugs (cocaine), but not drinking, smoking, gang involvement, or marijuana use.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7990

Published: David Figlio & Jens Ludwig, 2012. "Sex, Drugs, and Catholic Schools: Private Schooling and Non-Market Adolescent Behaviors," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(4), pages 385-415, November. citation courtesy of

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