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ERIC Number: ED438121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Earnings of Dropouts and High School Enrollments: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust.
Black, Dan; Daniel, Kermit; Sanders, Seth
Economic theory suggests that when the reduction in earnings from dropping out of school is minimal, dropout rates will be high. As earnings loss for dropouts grows, however, the dropout rate should decrease. This chapter examines whether these predicted effects actually occur by looking at changes in dropout rates in Kentucky in the 1970s and 1980s. Following the 1973 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries oil embargo, the rising price of coal had a major impact on Kentucky's economy, greatly increasing employment and earnings in counties with large coal reserves. Unfortunately for Kentucky, the coal bust that followed in the 1980s was equally sharp. Data for 1972-81 from Pike County--the largest coal producing county in eastern Kentucky--show that changes in population and changes in enrollment in grades 5-8 were somewhat parallel, but that change in high school enrollment almost always moved in the opposite direction of change in population. In addition, analysis of regional earnings and enrollment data suggests that a 10 percent increase in earnings between 1969 and 1993 reduced high school enrollments by about 2.5 percent. Thus, high school enrollments seem fairly sensitive to the opportunities for unschooled workers in the surrounding area. Data on relative earnings for Kentucky males at different education levels in 1980 and 1990 suggest that incentives to attend college increased in the 1980s, but not the incentive to complete high school. Implications for Kentucky's future and for the Kentucky Education Reform Act are discussed. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky