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Learning about Academic Ability and the College Dropout Decision

  • Todd Stinebrickner
  • Ralph Stinebrickner

Research examining the educational attainment of low-income students has often focused on financial factors such as credit constraints. We use unique longitudinal data to provide direct evidence about a prominent alternative explanation—that departures from school arise as students learn about their academic ability or grade performance. Examining college dropout, we find that this explanation plays a very prominent role; our simulations indicate that dropout between the first and second years would be reduced by 40% if no learning occurred about grade performance/academic ability. The article also contributes directly to the understanding of gender differences in educational attainment.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/666525
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/666525
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 707 - 748

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/666525
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