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Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?

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  • Christopher J. Ruhm

Abstract

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this study examines whether employment by high school students improves or worsens economic attainment 6 to 9 years after the scheduled date of high school graduation. There is no indication that light to moderate job commitments ever have a detrimental impact and hours worked during the senior grade are positively correlated with future earnings, fringe benefits, and occupational status. These results are robust across a variety of specifications and suggest that employment increases net investments in human capital and facilitates the school- to-work transition, particularly towards the end of high school and for students not continuing on to college.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5030.

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Date of creation: Feb 1995
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Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 113, no. 1 (February 1998): 285-317.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5030

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  1. Robert H. Meyer & David A. Wise, 1982. "High School Preparation and Early Labor Force Experience," NBER Chapters, in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 277-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1985. "Employment While in College, Academic Achievement and Post-College Outcomes: A Summary of Results," NBER Working Papers 1742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael, Robert T & Tuma, Nancy Brandon, 1984. "Youth Employment: Does Life Begin at 16?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 464-76, October.
  4. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1982. "Why Does the Rate of Youth Labor Force Activity Differ across Surveys?," NBER Chapters, in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 75-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David T. Ellwood, 1982. "Teenage Unemployment: Permanent Scars or Temporary Blemishes?," NBER Chapters, in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 349-390 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
  8. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-32, October.
  9. Weiss, Andrew, 1988. "High School Graduation, Performance, and Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 785-820, August.
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