There has been growing interest in using specific genetic markers as instrumental variables in attempts to assess causal relationships between health status and socioeconomic outcomes, including human capital accumulation. In this paper, we use a combination of family fixed effects and genetic marker instruments to estimate the causal effects of poor adolescent mental and physical health status on years of completed schooling. By exploiting the genetic variation in inheritance within families, this empirical strategy presents a unique opportunity to isolate the variation in genetic factors from other dynastic and family characteristics. We present evidence that inattentive symptoms in early childhood have large lasting effects in reducing completed schooling. We also find little consistent evidence that adolescent overweight status influences years of schooling completed.
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