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The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data

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  • Philip Babcock

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Mindy Marks

    (University of California, Riverside)

Abstract

Using multiple data sets from different time periods, we document declines in academic time investment by full-time college students in the United States between 1961 and 2003. Full-time students allocated 40 hours per week toward class and studying in 1961, whereas by 2003, they were investing about 27 hours per week. Declines were extremely broad based and are not easily accounted for by framing effects, work or major choices, or compositional changes in students or schools. We conclude that there have been substantial changes over time in the quantity or manner of human capital production on college campuses. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 468-478

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:2:p:468-478

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  1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1985. "Employment While in College, Academic Achievement and Post-College Outcomes: A Summary of Results," NBER Working Papers 1742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Elder, Todd E. & Goddeeris, John H. & Haider, Steven J., 2009. "Unexplained Gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder Decompositions," IZA Discussion Papers 4159, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "Working During School and Academic Performance," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics 20009, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  4. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006, 08.
  5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  6. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ehrenberg, R.G.Ronald G., 2004. "Econometric studies of higher education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 19-37.
  8. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating The Payoff To Attending A More Selective College: An Application Of Selection On Observables And Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527, November.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Today's students are lazy
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-06-07 13:52:00
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Cited by:
  1. Steven Brint and Allison M. Cantwell, 2011. "ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE: Rethinking Bok’s “Underachieving Colleges†Thesis," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley qt83q89897, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  2. Babcock, Phillip & Marks, Mindy, 2010. "Leisure College, Usa," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt1zd0q0vn, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Ofer Malamud, 2010. "The Structure of European Higher Education in the Wake of the Bologna Reforms," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 205-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Steven Brint, 2009. "THE ACADEMIC DEVOLUTION? Movements to Reform Teaching and Learning in US Colleges and Universities, 1985-2010," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley qt18j2m7kh, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  5. MacLeod, W. Bentley & Urquiola, Miguel, 2012. "Anti-Lemons: School Reputation, Relative Diversity, and Educational Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 6805, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2006. "A Century of Work and Leisure," NBER Working Papers 12264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Brad J. Hershbein, 2013. "Worker Signals among New College Graduates: The Role of Selectivity and GPA," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research 13-190, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  8. Babcock, Philip & Bedard, Kelly & Charness, Gary & Hartman, John & Royer, Heather, 2012. "Letting Down the Team? Social Effects of Team Incentives," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt93n646db, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  9. MacLeod, W. Bentley & Urquiola, Miguel, 2012. "Competition and Educational Productivity: Incentives Writ Large," IZA Discussion Papers 7063, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Babcock, Phillip, 2009. "Real Costs of Nominal Grade Inflation? New Evidence from Student Course Evaluations," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4823c3jx, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  11. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Ken Spenner, 2012. "What happens after enrollment? An analysis of the time path of racial differences in GPA and major choice," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
  12. Brian Jacob & Brian McCall & Kevin M. Stange, 2013. "College as Country Club: Do Colleges Cater to Students’ Preferences for Consumption?," NBER Working Papers 18745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Charles T. Clotfelter, 2010. "Introduction to "American Universities in a Global Market"," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 1-29 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Mohammad Alauddin & Temesgen Kifle, 2014. "Does the student evaluation of teaching instrument really measure instructors teaching effectiveness? An econometric analysis of students perceptions in economics courses," Discussion Papers Series, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia 516, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  15. Michael F. Lovenheim & C. Lockwood Reynolds, 2013. "The Effect of Housing Wealth on College Choice: Evidence from the Housing Boom," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 1-35.
  16. Darolia, Rajeev, 2014. "Working (and studying) day and night: Heterogeneous effects of working on the academic performance of full-time and part-time students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 38-50.
  17. Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2012. "What Explains Trends In Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, National Tax Association, vol. 65(1), pages 181-210, March.

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