“The Effects of Alcohol use on High School Absenteeism” – An Analysis



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“The Effects of Alcohol use on High School Absenteeism” – An Analysis

The author of this article is Austin A. Wesley, and this features in the American Economist. Wesley is an author, as well as an assistant professor of Economics at the University of Louisiana. In the article, Wesley has used various angles to point at the impact of drug use to school absenteeism. The thesis of the author is that the use of alcohol among high school students leads to increased absenteeism, which is responsible for lower academic grades, and which consequently, influences the economy in a negative manner. This is so because school absenteeism lowers the educational outcomes, which are essential in the economy of a country.  The publisher of this article is the “Omicron Delta Epsilon Fraternity,” in the Los Angeles, United States. Having published this in 2012, the article is therefore barely one year old.

            Since the thesis depicts a negative relationship between school absenteeism and alcohol use among high school students, the author ensures to use the right approach in justifying this notion in the most appropriate ways. He therefore, uses clear examples and evidence to support this thesis of the article. Most examples used are those based on the study findings of various scholars of Economics on the same issue. He for instance uses data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).  Additionally, he employs other many findings from other Economics scholars in his literature review, and most of these similarly show a negative relationship between school absenteeism and alcohol use among students. This helped in establishing some effects of drugs and alcohol use on the educational outcomes.

            The author has ensured objectivity in this article, as he does not base the facts in the article on his own personal judgement. This article is not influenced by the author’s personal feelings or opinions. According to Letherby, Scott, and Malcolm, objectivity is important in research studies, as it eliminates different forms of bias (36).  Wesley ensures that the facts used in the article are credible and can be proved. Therefore, this article is devoid of bias of any aspect. In the literature review, the author uses past research findings, which support his thesis statement. Despite this, he goes ahead and criticizes these, with regard to the methodology they employed and other errors in the studies. However, Wesley is fair enough to also identify the potential weaknesses in the methodology he has chosen to address the issue. This shows his lack of inclination to his choice of methodology, which would have been a form of bias. Wesley chose to use data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), as his point of focus. This shows that close to 18 percent of the youth between 15-18 years old, and 43 percent of those between 18-25 years old participated in binge drinking, within the past month of the study (Wesley 240). Wesley then manipulates this data to come up with the most appropriate results, using the right methodology. Past studies on this topic have led to contradictory results, and have been regarded as unsatisfactory, as these have failed to give reliable results. This is why Wesley developed this study, in order to come up with credible, reliable, and authentic research findings for his study, unlike the other scholars of Economics. Therefore, Wesley in this article is purpose driven and objective.

The article is comprehensive and detailed, as the author ensures to break down all the facts and concerns raised in the article, making them more elaborate. The author identifies the effects of alcohol use on high school students in the social, physical, and economic contexts. However, he dwells on the economic context, as this is the main interest of the study. Here, the author reviews the attempts of other scholars in Economics to find out why school absenteeism in high schools due to alcoholism is a major concern in the field of Economics. He goes ahead and criticizes the methods these scholars used in finding out the relationship between these two variables. Different authors used different methods to establish this relationship, and this resulted in a disparity in their results. In order to find the relationship between these two, Wesley comes up with a better approach to achieve appropriate results. He approaches this by seeking the relationship between high school absenteeism due to alcoholism and the impact on human capital. Additionally, the method used to establish this relationship varies from those of other economics scholars. By identifying the data from NSDUH, the author is able to establish the relationship between these two, as the data allows for the IV regression methodology.

Although the author utilizes data from NSDUH, he identifies some of the biases in the data, and why this affects the results finding. Data from NSDUH was collected through self-responses, thereby giving an opportunity to the non-random measurement error. Therefore, by choosing the IV regression methodology, the author ensures that this eliminates the non-measurement error, for accurate results: “A potentially problematic facet of the data is non-random measurement error emanating from the self-reported nature of responses. Although IV will eliminate bias from random measurement error, it cannot salvage data suffering from systematic measurement error” (246).

            This article is convincing in its agreement, as the author has used a variety of facts as evidence to show the impact of alcohol use on school absenteeism. Apart from the data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the author also uses literature review to integrate views and findings from other authors in the specific context. In support of the claims made by the author in this article, at least most of the other authors such as Cook and Moore in the literature review agree that alcohol use leads to absenteeism due to the intoxication it causes. However, only Jenny et al. emphasize a positive relationship between alcohol use by high school students, and their economic performance. In arriving at the result, the author takes a systematic approach in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of other scholars’ findings, as well as those weaknesses and strengths his own methodology presents. However, comparing the author’s approach in this article and those employed by other scholars on the same issue, Wesley’s argument is more convincing. Nonetheless, this article is informative and reliable with regard to the relationship between school absenteeism due to alcoholism and economics.

Works Cited

Austin, Wesley. “The Effects of Alcohol use on High School Absenteeism.” American

Economist 57.2 (2012): 238-52. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2013.

Cook, Phillip and Moore, Michael. “Drinking and schooling.” Journal of Health Economics,

12.4 (1993): 411-29. Print.

Jenny, Williams, Lisa, Powell and Wechsler, Henry. “Does alcohol consumption reduce

human capital accumulation? Evidence from the college alcohol study.” Applied Economics, 35.10 (2003): 1227-1239. Print.

Letherby, Gayle, Scott, John and Malcolm, Williams. “Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social

Research.” London: SAGE, 2012. Print.


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