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Labor-Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Jepsen, Christopher

    () (University College Dublin)

  • Mueser, Peter R.

    () (University of Missouri-Columbia)

  • Troske, Kenneth

    () (University of Kentucky)

Abstract

We evaluate the labor-market returns to General Educational Development (GED) certification using state administrative data. We develop a fuzzy regression discontinuity (FRD) method to account for the fact that GED test takers can repeatedly retake the test until they pass it. Our technique can be applied to other situations where program participation is determined by a score on a "retake-able" test. Previous regression discontinuity estimates of the returns to GED certification have not accounted for retaking behavior, so these estimates may be biased. We find that the effect of GED certification on either employment or earnings is not statistically significant. GED certification increases postsecondary participation by up to four percentage points for men and up to eight percentage points for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Jepsen, Christopher & Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth, 2012. "Labor-Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6758
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & John H. Tyler, 2000. "Who Benefits from Obtaining a GED? Evidence from High School and Beyond," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 23-37, February.
    2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 281-355.
    3. Jian Cao & Ernst W. Stromsdorfer & Gregory Weeks, 1996. "The Human Capital Effect of General Education Development Certificates on Low Income Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 206-228.
    4. Paco Martorell & Isaac McFarlin, 2011. "Help or Hindrance? The Effects of College Remediation on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 436-454, May.
    5. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias-Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 661-700, July.
    6. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "The Value of School Facility Investments: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 215-261.
    7. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
    8. Tyler, John H. & Murnane, Richard J. & Willett, John B., 2003. "Who benefits from a GED? Evidence for females from High School and Beyond," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 237-247, June.
    9. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(08)28010-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Kathryn Parker Boudett, 1999. "Do Male Dropouts Benefit from Obtaining a GED, Postsecondary Education, and Training?," Evaluation Review, , vol. 23(5), pages 475-503, October.
    11. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    12. Christopher Jepsen & Peter Mueser & Kenneth Troske, 2015. "Second Chance for High-School Dropouts? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Postsecondary Educational Returns to General Educational Development Certification," Open Access publications 10197/6648, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    13. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Paul A. LaFontaine & Pedro L. Rodríguez, 2012. "Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 495-520.
    14. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Estimating the Labor Market Signaling Value of the GED," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 431-468.
    15. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Do the Cognitive Skills of School Dropouts Matter in the Labor Market?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 748-754.
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    17. David C. Wyld, 2010. "ASecond Life for organizations?: managing in the new, virtual world," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(6), pages 529-562, May.
    18. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    19. Papay, John P. & Willett, John B. & Murnane, Richard J., 2011. "Extending the regression-discontinuity approach to multiple assignment variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 203-207, April.
    20. Lofstrom, Magnus & Tyler, John, 2007. "Modeling the Signaling Value of the GED with an Application to an Exogenous Passing Standard Increase in Texas," IZA Discussion Papers 2953, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 370-422.
    2. Soohyung Lee & Muriel Niederle, 2015. "Propose with a rose? Signaling in internet dating markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 731-755, December.
    3. Yu-Chin Hsu & Chung-Ming Kuan & Giorgio Teng-Yu Lo, 2017. "Quantile Treatment Effects in Regression Discontinuity Designs with Covariates," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 17-A009, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
    4. Christopher Jepsen & Peter Mueser & Kenneth Troske, 2017. "Second Chance for High School Dropouts? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Postsecondary Educational Returns to the GED," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(S1), pages 273-304.
    5. repec:hrv:hksfac:34298861 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Christopher Jepsen & Peter Mueser & Kenneth Troske, 2015. "Second Chance for High-School Dropouts? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Postsecondary Educational Returns to General Educational Development Certification," Open Access publications 10197/6648, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. Paco Martorell & Damon Clark, 2010. "The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma," Working Papers 1248, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Paco Martorell & Damon Clark, 2010. "The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma," Working Papers 1248, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    9. Cory Koedel & Jiaxi Li & Matthew G. Springer & Li Tan, 2016. "The Impact of Performance Ratings on Job Satisfaction for Public School Teachers," Working Papers 1617, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    high school dropouts; GED;

    JEL classification:

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

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