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What Explains Trends in Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates, 1970-2009?

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  • Judith Scott-Clayton
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    Abstract

    Recent cohorts of college enrollees are more likely to work, and work substantially more, than those of the past. October CPS data reveal that average labor supply among 18 to 22-year-old full-time undergraduates nearly doubled between 1970 and 2000, rising from 6 hours to 11 hours per week. In 2000 over half of these “traditional” college students were working for pay in the reference week, and the average working student worked 22 hours per week. After 2000, labor supply leveled off and then fell abruptly in the wake of the Great Recession to an average of 8 hours per week in 2009. This paper considers several explanations for the long-term trend of rising employment—including compositional change and rising tuition costs—and considers whether the upward trend is likely to resume when economic conditions improve.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17744.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2012
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    Publication status: published as “What Explains Trends in Labor Supply Among U.S. Undergraduates?” National Tax Journal 65(1): 181-210.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17744

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    1. 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.
    2. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "Working During School and Academic Performance," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20009, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    3. Bound, John & Turner, Sarah, 2007. "Cohort crowding: How resources affect collegiate attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 877-899, June.
    4. 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.
    5. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
    7. John H. Tyler, 2003. "Using State Child Labor Laws to Identify the Effect of School-Year Work on High School Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 353-380, April.
    8. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2004. "Introduction to "College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It"," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2004. "College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hoxb04-1, octubre-d.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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.

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