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The relationship between forgone health care and high school dropout: evidence from US adolescents

Research output: Working paper

Publication date2014
Place of PublicationLancaster
PublisherLancaster University, Department of Economics
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameEconomics Working Paper Series


High school dropout is an important policy issue and its determinants are a longstanding interest of economics. However, very little is known on the roles of noncognitive traits in influencing school dropout decisions. We employ voluntary forgone health care as a proxy for the underlying noncognitive traits that may induce adolescents to dropout and estimate its effects on early school attrition. We exploit data from the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and employ a series of flexible specifications with school fixed effects and cohort effects. Our models account for well-established determinants of dropout, including individual and parental characteristics, together with personality traits. Forgone health care consistently appears to be a statistically significant and substantial predictor of dropout among adolescents. We suggest that forgone health care could be used as a signaling device for policy makers targeting potential high school dropouts.