NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Marijuana Use Impair Human Capital Formation?

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Karen E. Ross, Jeanne Ringel

NBER Working Paper No. 9963
Issued in September 2003
NBER Program(s):   HE   CH

In this paper we examine the relationship between marijuana use and human capital formation by examining performance on standardized tests among a nationally representative sample of youths from the National Education Longitudinal Survey. We find that much of the negative association between cross-sectional measures of marijuana use and cognitive ability appears to be attenuated by individual differences in school attachment and general deviance. However, difference-in-difference estimates examining changes in test scores across 10th and 12th grade reveal that marijuana use remains statistically associated with a 15% reduction in performance on standardized math tests.

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