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The Impact of Employment during School on College Student Academic Performance

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  • Jeffrey S. DeSimone

Abstract

This paper estimates the effect of paid employment on grades of full-time, four-year students from four nationally representative cross sections of the Harvard College Alcohol Study administered during 1993-2001. The relationship could be causal in either direction and is likely contaminated by unobserved heterogeneity. Two-stage GMM regressions instrument for work hours using paternal schooling and being raised Jewish, which are hypothesized to reflect parental preferences towards education manifested in additional student financial support but not influence achievement conditional on maternal schooling, college and class. Extensive empirical testing supports the identifying assumptions of instrument strength and orthogonality. GMM results show that an additional weekly work hour reduces current year GPA by about 0.011 points, roughly five times more than the OLS coefficient but somewhat less than recent estimates. Effects are stable across specifications, time, gender, class and age, but vary by health status, maternal schooling, religious background and especially race/ethnicity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14006.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14006

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  1. Christian Dustmann & Arthur Soest, 2007. "Part-time work, school success and school leaving," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 277-299, May.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the apple doesn't fall far: understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," CeMMAP working papers CWP16/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2003. "Working during School and Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 449-472, April.
  4. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, 2004. "Parental Transfers, Student Achievement, and the Labor Supply of College Students," Working Papers 374, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  8. Ethel B. Jones & John D. Jackson, 1990. "College Grades and Labor Market Rewards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 253-266.
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  13. DeSimone Jeff, 2006. "Academic Performance and Part-Time Employment among High School Seniors," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-36, August.
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  17. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?," NBER Working Papers 5030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Mother's Schooling on Children's Schooling Using a Sample of Adoptees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 358-368, March.
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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 qt83q89897, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  2. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2010. "Earning While Learning: Labor Market Returns to Student Employment During Tertiary Education," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0049, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  3. Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2012. "What Explains Trends In Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 65(1), pages 181-210, March.
  4. Flannery, Darragh & O’Donoghue, Cathal, 2013. "The demand for higher education: A static structural approach accounting for individual heterogeneity and nesting patterns," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 243-257.

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