Adolescent Depression and Educational Attainment: Results Using Sibling Fixed Effects
28 Pages Posted: 13 May 2009
Date Written: March 11, 2009
This paper contributes to the literature on the relationship between adolescent depression and educational attainment in several ways. First, while cross sectional data are normally used to assess the importance of the relationship, this paper uses longitudinal data in order to defend against the potential of reverse causality. Second, this is the first paper in the literature to control for sibling fixed effects in examining the relationship between adolescent depressive symptoms and human capital accumulation. Importantly, this eliminates omitted factors such as family and neighborhood characteristics common to siblings that affect both depressive symptoms and educational attainments (e.g. neighborhood crime, family resources). Third, this paper examines the effects of both an indicator and scale of depressive symptoms and finds important associations with these depressive symptoms and human capital accumulation. Though not always precisely estimated, the results suggest that depressive symptoms decrease years of schooling, mainly through increasing the chances of dropping out but may have small impacts on the likelihood of college attendance (conditional on high school graduation). In particular, preferred estimates suggest that a standard deviation increase in depressive symptoms is associated with a 25-30% increase in the likelihood of dropping out.
Keywords: Human Capital, Health, Depression, Fixed Effects
JEL Classification: I1, I2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation