IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Returns to Community College Schooling for Displaced Workers

Listed author(s):
  • Louis S. Jacobson
  • Robert J. LaLonde
  • Daniel G. Sullivan

Studies have shown that displaced workers’ can experience substantial long-term earnings losses. As these losses have become increasingly apparent, and the incidence of displacement has become more widely spread among industrial sectors, policy makers have significantly expanded resources for retraining programs. Much of this retraining takes place in community or junior colleges. This paper adds to the relatively sparse literature on the impacts of such retraining efforts by analyzing the impact of community college schooling on displaced workers' earnings. Using administrative data from two states, we find that the equivalent of a year of schooling raised long-term earnings of displaced male and female workers by about 5 percent. Although these gains are significant, they also are somewhat smaller than conventional estimates of the returns to schooling and insufficient to offset the lower earnings associated with workers' job losses. Further, we show that more than one-half of this gain results from the impact of schooling on hours worked. On average a year of community college schooling received by prime-aged workers was associated with less than a 2 percent increase in hourly wages. However, these average returns mask substantial variation in the returns associated with different types of courses. Skills acquired from more technically oriented vocational and academic math and science courses have very large returns, whereas most other types of courses are associated with zero or sometimes negative returns.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago in its series Working Papers with number 0105.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2001
Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0105
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: 773-702-8400
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0105. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eleanor Cartelli)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.