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The Wages of Failure: New Evidence on School Retention and Long-Run Outcomes

Author

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  • Philip Babcock

    () (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Kelly Bedard

    () (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara)

Abstract

By estimating differences in long-run education and labor market outcomes for cohorts of students exposed to differing state-level primary school retention rates, this article estimates the effects of retention on all students in a cohort, retained and promoted. We find that a 1 standard deviation increase in early grade retention is associated with a 0.7 percent increase in mean male hourly wages. Further, the observed positive wage effect is not limited to the lower tail of the wage distribution but appears to persist throughout the distribution. Though there is an extensive literature attempting to estimate the effect of retention on the retained, this analysis offers what may be the first estimates of average long-run impacts of retention on all students. © 2011 Association for Education Finance and Policy

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Babcock & Kelly Bedard, 2011. "The Wages of Failure: New Evidence on School Retention and Long-Run Outcomes," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(3), pages 293-322, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:6:y:2011:i:3:p:293-322
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/EDFP_a_00037
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hill, Andrew J., 2014. "The costs of failure: Negative externalities in high school course repetition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-105.
    2. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R. & Winters, Marcus A., 2017. "The effects of test-based retention on student outcomes over time: Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 154-169.
    3. Eren, Ozkan & Depew, Briggs & Barnes, Stephen, 2017. "Test-based promotion policies, dropping out, and juvenile crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 9-31.
    4. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:12:y:2017:i:3:p:312-341 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Timothy J. Bartik & JOnathan A. Belford & William T. Gormley & Sara Anderson, 2016. "A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Tulsa Universal Pre-K Program," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-261, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school retention; wage distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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