Relative deprivation has been associated with lower social and job satisfaction as well as adverse health outcomes. Using Add Health data, we examine whether a student's relative socioeconomic status (SES) has a direct effect on substance use. We advance the existing literature by addressing selection and simultaneity bias and by focusing on a reference group likely to exert the most influence on the respondents. We find that relative deprivation is positively associated with alcohol consumption, drinking to intoxication, and smoking for adolescent males, but not for females. Alternative variable definitions and robustness checks confirm these findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation