The effects of alcohol use on academic achievement in high school

Ana I. Balsa, Laura M. Giuliano, Michael T. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


This paper examines the effects of alcohol use on high school students' quality of learning. We estimate fixed-effects models using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Our primary measure of academic achievement is the student's grade point average (GPA) abstracted from official school transcripts. We find that increases in alcohol consumption result in small yet statistically significant reductions in GPA for male students and in statistically non-significant changes for females. For females, however, higher levels of drinking result in self-reported academic difficulty. The fixed-effects results are substantially smaller than OLS estimates, underscoring the importance of addressing unobserved individual heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Academic achievement
  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol
  • Education
  • GPA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics


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