Do Small High Schools Affect Rates of Risky Health Behaviors and Poor Mental Health Among Low-Income Teenagers? Evidence from New York City

64 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2019 Last revised: 24 Jul 2023

See all articles by Kai Hong

Kai Hong

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Syeda Sana Fatima

New York University (NYU) - New York University; New York University, Wagner

Sherry Glied

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Leanna Stiefel

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Amy Ellen Schwartz

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy; Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 23, 2023

Abstract

We evaluate the impacts of small high schools on youth risky behaviors and mental health in New York City, using a two-sample-instrumental-variable approach to address endogenous school enrollment. We find that the effects of small schools are heterogeneous. School size, alone, has little effect on risky behaviors. Among students most likely to attend small schools opened after an educational-achievement-oriented reform, however, diagnoses of violence-associated injuries and mental health disorders increased. Among students most likely to attend traditional small schools opened prior to the reform, pregnancy rates and diagnoses of mental health disorders declined. School focus appears to be more important than school size as a determinant of student well-being outcomes.

Keywords: small high school, instrumental variable, youth pregnancy, youth violence, mental health

JEL Classification: H41, I12, I21, J13

Suggested Citation

Hong, Kai and Fatima, Syeda Sana and Fatima, Syeda Sana and Glied, Sherry A. and Stiefel, Leanna and Schwartz, Amy Ellen and Schwartz, Amy Ellen, Do Small High Schools Affect Rates of Risky Health Behaviors and Poor Mental Health Among Low-Income Teenagers? Evidence from New York City (July 23, 2023). NYU Wagner Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3437984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3437984

Kai Hong (Contact Author)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
United States

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Syeda Sana Fatima

New York University (NYU) - New York University ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

New York University, Wagner ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Sherry A. Glied

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Leanna Stiefel

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

Public and Nonprofit Management and the Policy Pro
4 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003
United States

Amy Ellen Schwartz

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy ( email )

United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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