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Youth Employment and Academic Performance in High School

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  • Eckstein, Zvi
  • Wolpin, Kenneth

Abstract

The Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA), impose restriction on working hours and the type of jobs held by minors at ages below 18. Hours worked in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) sample increased monotonically from 2.5 for the 14-year-olds to 16.2 for the 18-year-olds, and among those who worked positive hours, it increased from 8.9 to 24.5. This evidence is, de facto, in compliance with the FLSA regulations on weekly hours. The aim of this paper is to assess one of the underlying premises for the legislation, namely that working while attending high school could adversely affect school performance. We formulate and estimate an explicit sequential decision model of high school attendance and work that captures in a stylized fashion the important institutional features of high school grade progression. Individuals accumulate credits (courses) towards graduation depending on the individual’s history of performance (knowledge acquisition), the level of participation in the labour market (hours worked) and their known (to them) ability and motivation. The labour market (randomly) offers wages for part-time and full-time employment that depend also on some inherent skill ‘endowment’ and labour market experience. The value of attending high school consists of both the perceived investment pay-off to graduation and on a current consumption value which is random. We simplify the model by assuming that a terminal condition for decisions during the high school period and its value can be estimated as an additional parameter of the model. Our results indicate that a policy that forced youths to remain in high school for five years or until they graduate, whichever comes first, without working would increase the number of high school graduates by slightly more than 2 percentage points (from 82% to 84.1%).

Suggested Citation

  • Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth, 1998. "Youth Employment and Academic Performance in High School," CEPR Discussion Papers 1861, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1861
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    Cited by:

    1. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2003. "Working during School and Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 449-472, April.
    2. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jorgen, 2007. "A structural analysis of the correlated random coefficient wage regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 827-848, October.
    3. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "The return to schooling in structural dynamic models: a survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1059-1105, July.
    4. Christian Belzil, 2008. "Testing the Specification of the Mincer Wage Equation," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 91-92, pages 427-451.
    5. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 2075-2091, September.
    6. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-20, CIRANO.
    7. Morris A. Davis & E. Michael Foster, 1999. "Intra-household allocation and the mental health of children: structural estimation analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. María Victoria Fazio, 2004. "Incidencia de las Horas Trabajadas en el Rendimiento Académico de Estudiantes Universitarios Argentinos," Department of Economics, Working Papers 052, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    9. María Victoria Fazio, 2004. "Incidencia de las Horas Trabajadas en el Rendimiento Académico de Estudiantes Universitarios Argentinos," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0010, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    10. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 1999. "Subjective Discount Rates, Intergenerational Transfers and the Return to Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 60, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Lee, Chanyoung & Orazem, Peter F., 2010. "High school employment, school performance, and college entry," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 29-39, February.
    12. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2001. "Heterogeneous Returns to Human Capital and Dynamic Self-Selection," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-10, CIRANO.
    13. Light, Audrey, 1999. "High school employment, high school curriculum, and post-school wages," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 291-309, June.
    14. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2005. "A Structural Analysis of the Correlated Random Coefficient Wage Regression Model with an Application to the OLS-IV Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 1585, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Felgueroso, Florentino & Gutiérrez-Domenech, María & Jiménez Martín, Sergi, 2013. "¿Por qué el abandono escolar se ha mantenido tan elevado en España en las últimas dos décadas? El papel de la Ley de Educación (LOGSE)," Economic Reports 02-2013, FEDEA.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    academic performance; Employment; Heterogeneity; high school; maximum likelihood;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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