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Working During School and Academic Performance

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Abstract

Unique new data from a college with a mandatory work-study program are used to examine the relationship between working during school and academic performance. Particular attention is paid to the importance of biases that are potentially present because the number of hours that are worked is endogenously chosen by the individual. A "naive" OLS regression, which indicates that a positive and statistically significant relationship exists between hours-worked and grade performance, highlights the potential importance of endogeneity bias in this context. Although a fixed effects estimator suggests that working an additional hour has an effect on grades which is quantitatively very close to zero, we suggest that there are likely to exist causes of endogeneity which are not addressed by the fixed effects estimator. Indeed, an instrumental variables approach, which takes advantage of unique institutional details of the work-study program at this school, indicates that working an additional hour has a negative and quantitatively large effect on grade performance at this school. The results suggest that, even if results appear "reasonable," a researcher should be cautious when drawing policy conclusions about the relationship between hours-worked and a particular outcome of interest unless he/she is confident that potential problems associated with the endogeneity of hours have been adequately addressed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 20009.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:20009

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Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1987. "Employment While in College, Academic Achievement and Post-College Outcomes: A Summary of Results," NBER Working Papers 1742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eckstein, Z. & Wolpin, K.I., 1997. "Youth Employment and Academic Perfomance in High School," Papers 24-97, Tel Aviv.
  3. Light, Audrey, 2001. "In-School Work Experience and the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 65-93, January.
  4. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1997. "Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 735-76, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Average Causal Response with Variable Treatment Intensity," NBER Technical Working Papers 0127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. V. Joseph Hotz & Lixin Xu & Marta Tienda & Avner Ahituv, 1999. "Are There Returns to the Wages of Young Men from Working While in School?," NBER Working Papers 7289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Methods for the Correlated Random Coefficient Model: Estimating the Average Rate of Return to Schooling When the Return is Correlated with Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 974-987.
  9. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2000. "The Relationship Between Family Income and Schooling Attainment: Evidence from a Liberal Arts College with a Full Tuition Subsidy Program," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20008, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  10. Newey, Whitney K, 1985. "Maximum Likelihood Specification Testing and Conditional Moment Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1047-70, September.
  11. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Light, Audrey, 1998. "Estimating Returns to Schooling: When Does the Career Begin?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 31-45, February.
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