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What Explains Trends In Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates?

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  • Scott-Clayton, Judith
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    Abstract

    Recent cohorts of college enrollees are more likely to work, and work substantially more, than those in the past. October Current Population Survey data reveal that average labor supply among 18- to 22-year-old, full-time undergraduates nearly doubled between 1970 and 2000, rising from six hours to 11 hours per week. In 2000 over half of these "traditional" college students were working for pay in the reference week, and those who worked at all worked an average of 22 hours per week. After 2000, labor supply leveled off and then fell abruptly in the wake of the Great Recession to an average of eight hours per week in 2009. This paper considers several explanations for the long-term trend of rising employment — including changes in demographic composition and rising tuition costs — and considers whether the upward trend is likely to resume when economic conditions improve.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March Citation: 65 National Tax Journal 181-210 (March 2012))
    Pages: 181-210

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    Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:65:y:2012:i:1:p:181-210

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    1. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2008. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20081, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
    2. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "Working During School and Academic Performance," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20009, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?," NBER Working Papers 5030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
    5. Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, 2004. "Parental Transfers, Student Achievement, and the Labor Supply of College Students," Working Papers 374, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    6. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
    7. Babcock, Phillip & Marks, Mindy, 2010. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7rc9d7vz, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    8. John H. Tyler, 2003. "Using State Child Labor Laws to Identify the Effect of School-Year Work on High School Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 353-380, April.
    9. Jeffrey S. DeSimone, 2008. "The Impact of Employment during School on College Student Academic Performance," NBER Working Papers 14006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2012. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 375-424, September.
    11. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
    12. Light, Audrey, 2001. "In-School Work Experience and the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 65-93, January.
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