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Estimating the Labor Market Signaling Value of the GED


  • John H. Tyler
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • John B. Willett


This paper tests the labor market signaling hypothesis for the General Educational Development (GED) equivalency credential. Using a unique data set containing GED test scores and Social Security Administration (SSA) earnings data, we exploit variation in GED status generated by differential state GED passing standards to identify the signaling value of the GED, net of human capital effects. Our results indicate that the GED signal increases the earnings of young white dropouts by 10 to 19 percent. We find no statistically significant effects for minority dropouts.

Suggested Citation

  • John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Estimating the Labor Market Signaling Value of the GED," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 115(2), pages 431-468.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:2:p:431-468.

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