Adolescent Depression and Educational Attainment: Results Using Sibling Fixed Effects

28 Pages Posted: 13 May 2009

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

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

Date Written: March 11, 2009

Abstract

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

Fletcher, Jason M., Adolescent Depression and Educational Attainment: Results Using Sibling Fixed Effects (March 11, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1402997 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1402997

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

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

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