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The Effect of High School Employment on Educational Attainment: A Conditional Difference-in-Differences Approach


  • Buscha, Franz

    () (University of Westminster)

  • Maurel, Arnaud

    () (Duke University)

  • Page, Lionel

    () (Queensland University of Technology)

  • Speckesser, Stefan

    () (University of Westminster)


Using American panel data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 ( NELS:88) this paper investigates the effect of working during grade 12 on attainment. We exploit the longitudinal nature of the NELS by employing, for the first time in the related literature, a semiparametric propensity score matching approach combined with difference-in- differences. This identification strategy allows us to address in a flexible way selection on both observables and unobservables associated with part-time work decisions. Once such factors are controlled for, insignificant effects on reading and math scores are found. We show that these results are robust to a matching approach combined with difference-in-difference-in-differences which allows differential time trends in attainment according to the working status in grade 12.

Suggested Citation

  • Buscha, Franz & Maurel, Arnaud & Page, Lionel & Speckesser, Stefan, 2008. "The Effect of High School Employment on Educational Attainment: A Conditional Difference-in-Differences Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3696, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3696

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesca Sgobbi & Fátima Suleman, 2015. "The Value of Transferable Skills," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 62(4), pages 378-399, September.
    2. Charles L. Baum & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "The Changing Benefits of Early Work Experience," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 343-363, October.
    3. Dettmann, Eva & Becker, Claudia & Schmeißer, Christian, 2010. "Is there a Superior Distance Function for Matching in Small Samples?," IWH Discussion Papers 3/2010, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    4. Erdogan, Zeynep & Jacobsen, Joyce P. & Kooreman, Peter, 2012. "Do Babysitters Have More Kids? The Effects of Teenage Work Experiences on Adult Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Cristina Lopez-Mayan, 2013. "Performance in Post-compulsory Education: Evidence from Vocational and Academic Tracks," Working Papers wpdea1302, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    6. Beffy, Magali & Fougère, Denis & Maurel, Arnaud, 2013. "The Effect of College Employment on Graduation: Evidence from France," CEPR Discussion Papers 9565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Holford, Angus, 2016. "Do parents tax their children? Teenage labour supply and financial support," ISER Working Paper Series 2016-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Holford, Angus, 2015. "Youth employment and academic performance: production functions and policy effects," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-06, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Magali Beffy & Denis Fougère & Arnaud Maurel, 2009. "L’impact du travail salarié des étudiants sur la réussite et la poursuite des études universitaires," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 422(1), pages 31-50.
    10. Baert, Stijn & Rotsaert, Olivier & Verhaest, Dieter & Omey, Eddy, 2015. "A Signal of Diligence? Student Work Experience and Later Employment Chances," IZA Discussion Papers 9170, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Michael Weber, 2016. "The short-run and long-run effects of decentralizing public employment services," ifo Working Paper Series 209, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    12. Rokicka, Magdalena, 2014. "The impact of students' part-time work on educational outcomes," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-42, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. Kady Marie-Danielle Body & Liliane Bonnal & Jean-François Giret, 2014. "Does student employment really impact academic achievement? The case of France," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(25), pages 3061-3073, September.

    More about this item


    evaluation; propensity score matching; education;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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