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The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes

  • Joseph G. Altonji

There is much public discussion but almost no evidence on the effects of high school curriculum on postsecondary education and on success in the labor market. I use the large variation in curriculum across US high schools to identify the effects on wages and educational attainment of specific courses of study. The main finding is that the return to additional courses in academic subject is small. One cannot account for the value of a year of high school with estimates of the value of the courses taken by the typical student during the year.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4142.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4142.

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Date of creation: Aug 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 30, No. 3, Summer 1995, pp. 409-438
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4142
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Joseph G. Altonji & James R. Spletzer, 1991. "Worker characteristics, job characteristics, and the receipt of on-the-job training," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(1), pages 58-79, October.
  2. R. Meyer, . "Applied versus traditional mathematics: New econometric models of the contribution of high school courses to mathematics proficiency," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 966-92, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joseph G. Altonji, 1991. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes are Uncertain," NBER Working Papers 3714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brown, James N, 1989. "Why Do Wages Increase with Tenure? On-the-Job Training and Life-Cycle Wage Growth Observed within Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 971-91, December.
  6. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & James R. Spletzer, 1991. "Worker Characteristics, Job Characteristics, and the Receipt of On-the-Job Training," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(1), pages 58-79, October.
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