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Academic Performance and College Dropout: Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Estimate a Learning Model

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  • Ralph Stinebrickner
  • Todd Stinebrickner

Abstract

We estimate a dynamic learning model of college dropout, taking advantage of unique expectations data to greatly reduce our reliance on standard assumptions. Our simulations show that 45% of dropout in the first 2 years of college can be attributed to what students learn about their academic performance, with this type of learning playing a smaller role later in college. Poorly performing students tend to leave because staying is not worthwhile rather than because they are at risk of failing out of school. Poor performance substantially decreases the enjoyability of school and substantially influences beliefs about postcollege earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2014. "Academic Performance and College Dropout: Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Estimate a Learning Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 601-644.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/675308
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Sullivan, "undated". "Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages," Working Papers 2017-03, American University, Department of Economics.
    2. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Preference for the Workplace, Human Capital, and Gender," NBER Working Papers 22173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sang Yoon Lee & Yongseok Shin & Donghoon Lee, 2015. "The Option Value of Human Capital: Higher Education and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 21724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hestermann, Nina & Pistolesi, Nicolas, 2016. "Does the Provision of Information on their Skills Affect Students' Enrollment Choices?," TSE Working Papers 16-650, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    5. Pedros Silos & Eric Smith, 2015. "Human Capital Portfolios," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 635-652, July.
    6. Turner, Lesley J., 2016. "The returns to higher education for marginal students: Evidence from Colorado Welfare recipients," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 169-184.
    7. Johannes S. Kunz & Kevin E. Staub, 2016. "Subjective completion beliefs and the demand for post-secondary education," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0120, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    8. Pistolesi, Nicolas, 2017. "Advising students on their field of study: Evidence from a French University reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 106-121.
    9. Pedros Silos & Eric Smith, 2015. "Human Capital Portfolios," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 635-652, July.
    10. Joseph G. Altonji & Peter Arcidiacono & Arnaud Maurel, 2015. "The Analysis of Field Choice in College and Graduate School: Determinants and Wage Effects," NBER Working Papers 21655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Whitaker, Stephan, 2016. "Industrial Composition and Intergenerational Mobility," Working Paper 1533, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    12. Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2016. "Preference for the workplace, investment in human capital, and gender," Staff Reports 767, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Mar 2017.
    13. Rachel Baker & Eric Bettinger & Brian Jacob & Ioana Marinescu, 2017. "The Effect of Labor Market Information on Community College Students’ Major Choice," NBER Working Papers 23333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jonathan A. Schwabish, 2014. "An Economist's Guide to Visualizing Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 209-234, Winter.
    15. Tyler Ransom & Esteban Aucejo & Arnaud Maurel & Peter Arcidiacono, 2014. "College Attrition and the Dynamics of Information Revelation," 2014 Meeting Papers 529, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Sungoh Kwon, 2017. "Does Public School Spending Raise Intergenerational Mobility?: Evidence from U.S. School Finance Reforms," Working papers 2017-06, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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