Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach
28 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2010 Last revised: 14 Feb 2021
Date Written: September 2010
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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