Genetic Risks, Adolescent Health and Schooling Attainment

26 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020

See all articles by Vikesh Amin

Vikesh Amin

Central Michigan University

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Carlos A. Flores

University of Miami

Alfonso Flores‐Lagunes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Hans-Peter Kohler

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Sociology

Date Written: June 28, 2020

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the effect of adolescent health behaviors/outcomes (obesity, depression, smoking, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)) on schooling attainment using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. We take two different approaches to deal with omitted variable bias and reverse causality. Our first approach attends to the issue of reverse causality by using health polygenic scores (PGSs) as proxies for actual adolescent health. Second, we estimate the effect of adolescent health using sibling fixed-effects models that control for unmeasured genetic and family factors shared by siblings. We use the PGSs as additional controls in the sibling fixed-effects models to reduce concerns about residual confounding from sibling-specific genetic differences. We find consistent evidence across both approaches that being genetically predisposed to smoking and smoking regularly in adolescence reduces schooling attainment. We find mixed evidence for ADHD. Our estimates suggest that having a high genetic risk for ADHD reduces grades of schooling, but we do not find any statistically significant negative effects of ADHD on grades of schooling. Finally, results from both approaches show no consistent evidence for a detrimental effect of obesity or depression on schooling attainment.

Keywords: adolescent health; polygenic scores; education

JEL Classification: I21; I10

Suggested Citation

Amin, Vikesh and Behrman, Jere R. and Fletcher, Jason M. and Flores, Carlos A. and Flores‐Lagunes, Alfonso and Kohler, Hans-Peter, Genetic Risks, Adolescent Health and Schooling Attainment (June 28, 2020). PIER Working Paper No. 20-024, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3638250 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3638250

Vikesh Amin

Central Michigan University

Jere R. Behrman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Carlos A. Flores

University of Miami ( email )

Coral Gables, FL 33124
United States

Alfonso Flores‐Lagunes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Hans-Peter Kohler

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Sociology ( email )

3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7686 (Phone)
215-898-2124 (Fax)

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