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ERIC Number: ED286268
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Pages: 43
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Labor Market Experience of Teenagers with and without High School Diplomas.
Stern, David; And Others
The rationale for high school dropout reduction programs rests mainly on evidence that graduates are more successful than dropouts in the labor market. It is not evident, however, whether this difference is attributable to the diploma itself or to underlying characteristics that affect both graduation and labor market success. This paper estimates the effect of the diploma on labor market success, over and above prior differences between graduates and dropouts, using a statistical procedure controlled for observable characteristics (ethnicity, gender, and academic achievement). The research also attempted to discover the role of unmeasured characteristics that may be associated with high school completion and labor market success. After selecting data from the 1980 sophomore cohort in the "High School and Beyond" survey, comparisons were made between a group who left school without a diploma and a group who graduated but did not attend postsecondary school. Results indicate that differences in employment and earnings between teenagers with and without diplomas are primarily not attributable to differences in measured prior characteristics. Dropouts' labor market difficulties are therefore not merely symptomatic of the prior characteristics measured by this research. The question remains whether the problems are due to discrimination by employers against dropouts or to other unmeasured variables. Society's gain from dropout reduction programs depends on whether employers' reasons for favoring graduates are arbitrary or valid. Conversely, if dropouts have unobserved characteristics causing them to be less productive than graduates, then society's gain from program efforts depends on whether would-be dropouts acquire characteristics during schooling that make them more productive. Seventeen references and 13 tables of data are appended. (CJH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A