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

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  • Philip S. Babcock
  • Mindy Marks

Abstract

Using multiple datasets 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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15954.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as Philip Babcock & Mindy Marks, 2011. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 468-478, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15954

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  1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006, 08.
  2. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Working Papers 788, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  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. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1987. "Employment While in College, Academic Achievement, and Postcollege Outcomes: A Summary of Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-23.
  5. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, 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.
  6. Elder, Todd E. & Goddeeris, John H. & Haider, Steven J., 2010. "Unexplained gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 284-290, January.
  7. 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, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  8. Ehrenberg, R.G.Ronald G., 2004. "Econometric studies of higher education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 19-37.
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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. Michael F. Lovenheim & C. Lockwood Reynolds, 2012. "The Effect of Housing Wealth on College Choice: Evidence from the Housing Boom," NBER Working Papers 18075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charles T. Clotfelter, 2010. "Introduction to "American Universities in a Global Market"," NBER Chapters, in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 1-29 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Valerie Ramey & Neville Francis, 2006. "A Century of Work and Leisure," Working Papers id:546, eSocialSciences.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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 516, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  8. 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, vol. 38(C), pages 38-50.
  9. Brad J. Hershbein, 2013. "Worker Signals among New College Graduates: The Role of Selectivity and GPA," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 13-190, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 qt18j2m7kh, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  14. MacLeod, W. Bentley & Urquiola, Miguel, 2012. "Competition and Educational Productivity: Incentives Writ Large," IZA Discussion Papers 7063, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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, vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Ofer Malamud, 2010. "The Structure of European Higher Education in the Wake of the Bologna Reforms," NBER Chapters, in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 205-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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