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Do the Cognitive Skills of School Dropouts Matter in the Labor Market?

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  • John H. Tyler
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • John B. Willett

Abstract

Does the labor market reward cognitive skill differences among those with the fewest educational attainment-high school dropouts? This paper explores this question using a data set that provides information on the universe of dropouts who last attempted the GED exams in Florida and New York in 1989 and 1990. This sample reduces variation in unmeasured variables such as motivation that are correlated with cognitive skills. We examine the returns to basic cognitive skills as measured by GED test scores. The results indicate substantial earnings returns to cognitive skills for all groups except white male dropouts.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 35 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 748-754

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:35:y:2000:i:4:p:748-754

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Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
  2. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 1998. "Estimating the Impact of the GED on the Earnings of Young Dropouts Using a Series of Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 6391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, . "Employer Learning and the Signaling Value of Education," IPR working papers 96-11, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
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Cited by:
  1. Mañé Vernet, Ferran & Miravet, Daniel, 2010. "An investigation on the pay-off to generic competences for core employees in Catalan manufacturing firms," Working Papers 2072/179595, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  2. Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "How Equal Are Educational Opportunities? Family Background and Student Achievement in Europe and the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 1162, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Jepsen, Christopher & Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth, 2012. "Labor-Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Vegard Skirbekk, 2003. "Age and individual productivity: a literature survey," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  5. McIntosh, Steven & Vignoles, Anna, 2001. "Measuring and Assessing the Impact of Basic Skills on Labour Market Outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 453-81, July.
  6. Laura Romeu Gordo & Andreas Motel-Klingebiel & Susanne Wurm, 2009. "SOEP as a Source for Research on Ageing – Issues, Measures and Possibilities for Improvement," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 83, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
  7. Tyler, John H., 2004. "Basic skills and the earnings of dropouts," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 221-235, June.
  8. Ludger Wößmann, 2001. "New Evidence on the Missing Resource-Performance Link in Education," Kiel Working Papers 1051, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Teraji, Shinji, 2011. "An economic analysis of social exclusion and inequality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 217-223, May.
  10. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. P�rtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17 - 66.
  11. Tyler, John H. & Murnane, Richard J. & Willett, John B., 2004. "The devil's in the details: evidence from the GED on large effects of small differences in high stakes exams," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 339-349, August.
  12. Fisher, Monica G., 2005. "Why Is U.S. Poverty Higher In Nonmetropolitan Than Metropolitan Areas? Evidence From The Panel Study Of Income Dynamics," Working Papers 18904, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).
  13. Vegard Skirbekk, 2004. "Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 2(1), pages 133-154.

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