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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.

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  • 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. Whitaker, Stephan, 2016. "Industrial Composition and Intergenerational Mobility," Working Paper 1533, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. Paul Sullivan, "undated". "Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages," Working Papers 2017-03, American University, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Rossella Iraci Capuccinello & Giuseppe Migali, 2018. "The effect of Extracurricular Activities on Students’ Dropout. Evidence from Vocational Education in Italy," Working Papers 232397381, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    5. 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.
    6. Johannes S. Kunz & Kevin E. Staub, 2016. "Subjective Completion Beliefs and the Demand for Post-Secondary Education," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 878, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Preference for the Workplace, Human Capital, and Gender," NBER Working Papers 22173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Johannes Berens & Simon Oster & Kerstin Schneider & Julian Burghoff, 2018. "Early Detection of Students at Risk - Predicting Student Dropouts Using Administrative Student Data and Machine Learning Methods Abstract: High rates of student attrition in tertiary education are a m," Schumpeter Discussion Papers sdp18006, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    11. 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.
    12. 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).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner & Paul Sullivan, 2017. "Beauty, Job Tasks, and Wages: A New Conclusion About Employer Taste-Based Discrimination," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20175, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    16. 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.
    17. Aina, Carmen & Baici, Eliana & Casalone, Giorgia & Pastore, Francesco, 2018. "The economics of university dropouts and delayed graduation: a survey," GLO Discussion Paper Series 189, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Ulrik Hvidman & Hans Henrik Sievertsen, 2018. "High-Stakes Grades and Student Behavior," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 18/698, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

    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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