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Second Chance for High School Dropouts? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Postsecondary Educational Returns to the GED

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  • Jepsen, Christopher
  • Mueser, Peter
  • Troske, Kenneth

Abstract

We evaluate the educational returns to General Educational Development (GED) certification using state administrative data. We use fuzzy regression discontinuity (FRD) methods to account for the fact that GED test takers can repeatedly retake the test until they pass it and the fact that test takers have to pass all five subtests before receiving the GED. We find that the GED increases the likelihood of postsecondary attendance and course completion substantially, but the GED impact on overall credits completed is modest: The GED causes an average increment of only two credits for men and six credits for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Jepsen, Christopher & Mueser, Peter & Troske, Kenneth, 2017. "Second Chance for High School Dropouts? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Postsecondary Educational Returns to the GED," GLO Discussion Paper Series 6, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:6
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Marinho Bertanha & Guido W. Imbens, 2014. "External Validity in Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Designs," NBER Working Papers 20773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Christopher Jepsen & Kenneth Troske & Paul Coomes, 2014. "The Labor-Market Returns to Community College Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 95-121.
    4. John H. Tyler, 2004. "Does the G.E.D. Improve Earnings? Estimates from a Sample of Both Successful and Unsuccessful G.E.D. Candidates," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(4), pages 579-598, July.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Christopher Jepsen & Peter Mueser & Kenneth Troske, 2016. "Labor Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 621-649.
    8. Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Kautz, Tim (ed.), 2014. "The Myth of Achievement Tests," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226100098, January.
    9. Tyler, John & Lofstrom, Magnus, 2010. "Is the GED an effective route to postsecondary education for school dropouts?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 813-825, October.
    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. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    15. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
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    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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