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Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out

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Author Info

  • James J. Heckman

    (Department of Economics, University of Chicago)

  • Paul A. LaFontaine

    (American Bar Foundation)

  • Pedro L. Rodriguez

    (Center for Social Program Evaluation, Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy)

Abstract

The option to obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate changes the incentives facing high school students. This article evaluates the effect of three different GED policy innovations on high school graduation rates. A 6-point decrease in the GED pass rate produced a 1.3-point decline in high school dropout rates. The introduction of a GED certification program in high schools in Oregon produced a 4% decrease in high school graduation rates. Introduction of GED certificates for civilians in California increased the dropout rate by 3 points. The GED program induces students to drop out of high school.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp200829.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200829.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 15 Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200829

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  1. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
  2. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2010. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 244-262, May.
  3. Donald S. Kenkel & Dean R. Lillard & Alan D. Mathios, 2006. "The Roles of High School Completion and GED Receipt in Smoking and Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lillard, Dean R. & DeCicca, Philip P., 2001. "Higher standards, more dropouts? Evidence within and across time," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 459-473, October.
  5. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias-Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 661-700, July.
  6. Robert Kominski, 1990. "Estimating the National High School Dropout Rate," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 303-311, May.
  7. Roberto Agodini & Mark Dynarski, 1998. "Understanding the Trend Toward Alternative Certification for High School Graduates," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1894, Mathematica Policy Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Heckman, James J. & Urzua, Sergio, 2009. "Comparing IV with Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify," IZA Discussion Papers 3980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Peter R. Mueser & Christopher Jepsen & Kenneth Troske, 2010. "Labor-Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Working Papers 1014, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  3. Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Dropout Prevention and College Prep," NBER Chapters, in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, pages 249-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pugatch, Todd, 2012. "Bumpy Rides: School to Work Transitions in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 6305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Yi-Chun Chen & Siyang Xiong, 2008. "Topologies on Types: Connections," Discussion Papers 1470, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 370-422, June.
  7. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard Sutch, 2010. "The Unexpected Long-Run Impact of the Minimum Wage: An Educational Cascade," NBER Working Papers 16355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade & Luciano I. de Castro, 2008. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1469, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. de Carvalho Andrade, Eduardo & de Castro, Luciano I., 2011. "Tougher educational exam leading to worse selection," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 5(17), pages 1-24.
  11. Eduardo Andrade & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1533, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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