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Natives, the Foreign-Born and High School Equivalents: New Evidence on the Returns to the GED

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  • Melissa A. Clark
  • David Jaeger

Abstract

In this paper we explore the labor market returns to the General Education Development exam, or GED. Using new data from the Current Population Survey, we examine how the return to the GED varies between U.S. natives and the foreign-born. We find that foreign-born men who hold a GED but received all of their formal schooling outside of the U.S. earn significantly more than either foreign-schooled dropouts or individuals with a foreign high school diploma. For foreign-born men with some U.S. schooling, earning a GED brings higher wages than a traditional U.S. high school diploma, although this difference is not statistically significantly different from zero. These patterns stand in contrast to those for U.S. natives, among whom GED recipients earn less than high school graduates but significantly more than dropouts. The effects for natives appear to become larger over the life cycle and do not seem to be due to cohort effects. While it is difficult to attach a purely causal interpretation to our findings, they do indicate that the GED may be more valuable in the labor market than some previous research suggests.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 841.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01pz50gw105

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Keywords: GED; immigration; sheepskin effects;

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  1. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  2. Jaeger, David A., 2002. "Estimating the Returns to Education Using the Newest Current Population Survey Education Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-51, April.
  4. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & John H. Tyler, 1999. "Who Benefits from Obtaining a GED? Evidence from High School and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 7172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
  6. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  7. Bernt Bratsberg & James F. Ragan Jr., 2002. "The Impact of Host-Country Schooling on Earnings: A Study of Male Immigrants in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 63-105.
  8. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1991. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," NBER Working Papers 3804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  10. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 1998. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Working Papers 6757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  12. Jaeger, David A & Page, Marianne E, 1996. "Degrees Matter: New Evidence on Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 733-40, November.
  13. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
  14. Belman, Dale & Heywood, John S, 1991. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education: An Examination on Women and Minorities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 720-24, November.
  15. Layard, Richard & Psacharopoulos, George, 1974. "The Screening Hypothesis and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 985-98, Sept./Oct.
  16. Tyler, John H. & Murnane, Richard J. & Willett, John B., 2003. "Who benefits from a GED? Evidence for females from High School and Beyond," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 237-247, June.
  17. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Estimating The Labor Market Signaling Value Of The GED," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 431-468, May.
  18. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1999. "The Community College: Educating Students at the Margin between College and Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 63-84, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Prachi Mishra, 2006. "Emigration and Brain Drain," IMF Working Papers 06/25, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Mikal Skuterud & Mingcui Su, 2012. "The influence of measurement error and unobserved heterogeneity in estimating immigrant returns to foreign and host-country sources of human capital," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1109-1141, December.
  3. David Neumark & Olena Nizalova, 2004. "Minimum Wage Effects in the Longer Run," NBER Working Papers 10656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bollinger, Christopher R. & Hirsch, Barry, 2005. "Match Bias from Earnings Imputation in the Current Population Survey: The Case of Imperfect Matching," IZA Discussion Papers 1846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Jaeger, David A., 2003. "Estimating the returns to education using the newest current population survey education questions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 385-394, March.
  6. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30749, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 May 2011.
  7. Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, 2002. "Educational attainment as a constraint on economic growth and social progress," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 37-95.
  8. Packard, Thomas & Delgado, Melanie & Fellmeth, Robert & McCready, Karen, 2008. "A cost-benefit analysis of transitional services for emancipating foster youth," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 1267-1278, November.

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