Extracurricular Participation and Risky Behaviours During High School

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Abstract: Extracurriculars may reduce risky behaviours (smoking, alcohol, marijuana use) through human and health capital accumulation, crowding out and positive peer influences but may also increase them through peer pressure. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, we estimate the contemporaneous and longer term effects of extracurricular participation on 10th and 12th grade risky behaviours. Joint estimation of the participation and risky behaviour decisions, which corrects for selection into extracurriculars, shows that extracurricular activities lead to substantial reductions in the likelihood of engagement in risky behaviours, particularly for smoking and marijuana, but these effects are not persistent in the longer run.

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