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Are There Returns to the Wages of Young Men from Working While in School?

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Author Info

  • V. Joseph Hotz
  • Lixin Xu
  • Marta Tienda
  • Avner Ahituv

Abstract

This paper examines the impacts of work experience acquired while youth were in high school (and college) on young men’s wage rates during the 1980s and 1990s. Previous studies have found evidence of sizeable and persistent rates of return to working while enrolled in school, especially high school, on subsequent wage growth. Such findings may represent causal effects of having acquired work experience while still enrolled in school, but they may also be the result of failure to fully account for individual differences in young adults’ capacities to acquire such skills and be productive in the work force later in life. We reexamine the robustness of previous attempts to control for unobserved heterogeneity and selectivity. We explore more general methods for dealing with dynamic forms of selection by explicitly modeling the educational and work choices of young men from age 13 through their late twenties. Using data on young men from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, (NLSY79), we find that the estimated returns to working while in high school or college are dramatically diminished in magnitude and statistical significance when one uses these dynamic selection methods. As such, our results indicate a decided lack of robustness to the inference about the effects of working while in school that has been drawn from previous work.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 101.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:101

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Postal: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637
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References

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  1. Hotz, J.V. & Miller, R.A. & Sanders, S. & Smith, J., 1992. "A Simulation Estimator for Dynamic Models of Discrete Choice," GSIA Working Papers 1992-13, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. 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.
  3. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1994. "The Solution and Estimation of Discrete Choice Dynamic Programming Models by Simulation and Interpolation: Monte Carlo Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 648-72, November.
  4. James J. Heckman, 1981. "Heterogeneity and State Dependence," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 91-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  7. Avner Ahituv & Marta Tienda & Lixin Xu & V. Joseph Hotz, . "Initial Labor Market Experiences of Black, Hispanic and White Men," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 94-5, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  8. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  9. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  10. Lisa M. Lynch, 1986. "The Youth Labor Market in the 80s: Determinants of Re-Employment Probabilities for Young Men and Women," NBER Working Papers 2021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
  12. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "The Specification and Estimation of Dynamic Stochastic Discrete Choice Models: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 562-598.
  13. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1987. "Employment While in College, Academic Achievement, and Postcollege Outcomes: A Summary of Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-23.
  14. 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.
  15. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?," NBER Working Papers 5030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, 1992. "Conditional Choice Probabilities and the Estimation of Dynamic Models," Working Papers 9202, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  17. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Models for the Analysis of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
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