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Gone for Good? Determinants of School Dropout in Southern Italy

  • O'Higgins, Niall

    ()

    (ILO International Labour Organization)

  • D'Amato, Marcello

    ()

    (University of Salerno)

  • Caroleo, Floro Ernesto

    ()

    (University of Naples Parthenope)

  • Barone, Adriana

    ()

    (University of Salerno)

The aim of the present paper is to gain some insight into the causes of dropping out of school and, more generally, of the factors that induce parents to review their choices about their child’s schooling careers. To this end we apply to data from a school dropout survey insights from a model of sequential decision making by parents, where the initial decision can be reviewed in the light of new information emerging about the ability and opportunities of the child in benefitting from education relative to her outside (in the unskilled market). Analysis of the data confirms the role of both economic capacity (opportunity costs) and cultural capacity (ability to disentangle signals about future opportunities) of the family of origin shape observed choices about drop-out and return to school by individuals in our sample. Dropping out behaviour also appears to be strongly influenced by mismatches between school and student, however, and many of those who leave are not “gone for good”.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3292.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia, 2007, 66(2), 207-246
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3292
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  1. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Verner, Dorte, 2006. "School Drop-Out and Push-Out Factors in Brazil: The Role of Early Parenthood, Child Labor, and Poverty," IZA Discussion Papers 2515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Checchi, Daniele & Flabbi, Luca, 2007. "Intergenerational Mobility and Schooling Decisions in Germany and Italy: The Impact of Secondary School Tracks," IZA Discussion Papers 2876, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 2001. "How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 9-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 518, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  6. Eric A. Hanushek & Victor Lavy & Kohtaro Hitomi, 2008. "Do Students Care about School Quality? Determinants of Dropout Behavior in Developing Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 69-105.
  7. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Persistent Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 369-393.
  8. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014, November.
  10. Richard Blundell & Lorraine Dearden & Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "Evaluating the Impact of Education on Earnings in the UK: Models, Methods and Results from the NCDS," CEE Discussion Papers 0047, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  11. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Glenda Quintini & Sébastien Martin, 2006. "Starting Well or Losing their Way?: The Position of Youth in the Labour Market in OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 39, OECD Publishing.
  13. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  14. Daniele Checchi & Francesco Zollino, 2001. "Sistema scolastico e selezione sociale in Italia," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 91(6), pages 43-84, July-Augu.
  15. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  16. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
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