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Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out

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Author Info

  • James J. Heckman
  • John Eric Humphries
  • Paul A. LaFontaine
  • Pedro L. Rodr�guez

Abstract

The option to obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate changes the incentives facing high school students. This article evaluates the effect of three different GED policy innovations on high school graduation rates. A 6-point decrease in the GED pass rate produced a 1.3-point decline in high school dropout rates. The introduction of a GED certification program in high schools in Oregon produced a 4% decrease in high school graduation rates. Introduction of GED certificates for civilians in California increased the dropout rate by 3 points. The GED program induces students to drop out of high school.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/664924
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/664924
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 495 - 520

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/664924

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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References

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  1. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2010. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 244-262, May.
  2. James J. Heckman & Paul LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," NBER Working Papers 12018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lillard, Dean R. & DeCicca, Philip P., 2001. "Higher standards, more dropouts? Evidence within and across time," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 459-473, October.
  4. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
  5. Donald Kenkel & Dean Lillard & Alan Mathios, 2006. "The Roles of High School Completion and GED Receipt in Smoking and Obesity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 635-660, July.
  6. Robert Kominski, 1990. "Estimating the National High School Dropout Rate," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 303-311, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter R. Mueser & Christopher Jepsen & Kenneth Troske, 2010. "Labor-Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Working Papers 1014, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  2. Sergio Urzua & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Comparing IV with Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify," Working Papers 200906, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade & Luciano I. de Castro, 2008. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1469, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Richard Sutch, 2010. "The Unexpected Long-Run Impact of the Minimum Wage: An Educational Cascade," NBER Working Papers 16355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pugatch, Todd, 2012. "Bumpy Rides: School to Work Transitions in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 6305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 370-422, June.
  8. de Carvalho Andrade, Eduardo & de Castro, Luciano I., 2011. "Tougher educational exam leading to worse selection," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 5(17), pages 1-24.
  9. Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Dropout Prevention and College Prep," NBER Chapters, in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, pages 249-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Yi-Chun Chen & Siyang Xiong, 2008. "Topologies on Types: Connections," Discussion Papers 1470, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Eduardo Andrade & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1533, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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