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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)
    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. Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, 2008. "Parental Transfers, Student Achievement, and the Labor Supply of College Students," Working Papers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 416, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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    6. Philip Babcock & Mindy Marks, 2011. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 468-478, May.
    7. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2006. "Cohort Crowding: How Resources Affect Collegiate Attainment," NBER Working Papers 12424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
    11. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1997. "Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 735-76, October.
    12. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 353-380, April.
    13. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
    14. Light, Audrey, 2001. "In-School Work Experience and the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 65-93, January.
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