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Learning about Academic Ability and the College Dropout Decision

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  • Todd Stinebrickner
  • Ralph Stinebrickner

Abstract

Research examining the educational attainment of low-income students has often focused on financial factors such as credit constraints. We use unique longitudinal data to provide direct evidence about a prominent alternative explanation—that departures from school arise as students learn about their academic ability or grade performance. Examining college dropout, we find that this explanation plays a very prominent role; our simulations indicate that dropout between the first and second years would be reduced by 40% if no learning occurred about grade performance/academic ability. The article also contributes directly to the understanding of gender differences in educational attainment.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/666525
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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): 4 ()
Pages: 707 - 748

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/666525

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  1. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2005. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 11544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," NBER Working Papers 4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2005. "Dynamic Discrete Choice and Dynamic Treatment Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2007. "The Effect of Credit Constraints on the College Drop-Out Decision: A Direct Approach Using a New Panel Study," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20071, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  8. Joseph G. Altonji, 1991. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes are Uncertain," NBER Working Papers 3714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2003. "How Should We Measure Consumer Confidence (Sentiment)? Evidence from the Michigan Survey of Consumers," NBER Working Papers 9926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  12. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2001. "Understanding Educational Outcomes of Students from Low Income Families: Evidence from a Liberal Arts College with a Full Tuition Subsidy Program," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20014, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  13. F. Thomas Juster, 1966. "Consumer Buying Intentions and Purchase Probability: An Experiment in Survey Design," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just66-2, May.
  14. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "How Should We Measure Consumer Confidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 51-66, Spring.
  15. Marcel Das & Arthur van Soest, 2000. "Expected Versus Realized Income Expectations: A Test of the Rational Expectations Hypothesis," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1750, Econometric Society.
  16. Lance Lochner, 2005. "Individual Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System," 2005 Meeting Papers 452, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2001. "Time Use and College Outcomes," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20012, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  18. Adeline Delavande, 2008. "Pill, Patch, Or Shot? Subjective Expectations And Birth Control Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 999-1042, 08.
  19. Jeff Dominitz, 1998. "Earnings Expectations, Revisions, And Realizations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 374-388, August.
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