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Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?

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  • Christopher J. Ruhm

Abstract

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this study examines whether employment by high school students improves or worsens economic attainment 6 to 9 years after the scheduled date of high school graduation. There is no indication that light to moderate job commitments ever have a detrimental impact and hours worked during the senior grade are positively correlated with future earnings, fringe benefits, and occupational status. These results are robust across a variety of specifications and suggest that employment increases net investments in human capital and facilitates the school- to-work transition, particularly towards the end of high school and for students not continuing on to college.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?," NBER Working Papers 5030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5030 Note: LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1982. "Why Does the Rate of Youth Labor Force Activity Differ across Surveys?," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 75-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
    3. David T. Ellwood, 1982. "Teenage Unemployment: Permanent Scars or Temporary Blemishes?," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 349-390 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    5. Robert H. Meyer & David A. Wise, 1982. "High School Preparation and Early Labor Force Experience," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 277-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Weiss, Andrew, 1988. "High School Graduation, Performance, and Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 785-820, August.
    7. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-532, October.
    8. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel R. Sherman, 1987. "Employment While in College, Academic Achievement, and Postcollege Outcomes: A Summary of Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-23.
    9. Michael, Robert T & Tuma, Nancy Brandon, 1984. "Youth Employment: Does Life Begin at 16?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 464-476, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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