ERIC Number: ED464785
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Oct-5
High School Completion among Mexican-Origin Youths: Is Work Experience a Factor?
Olatunji, Anane N.
The potential positive and negative effects of early work experience on adolescent well-being and educational attainment have been explored from developmental and zero-sum perspectives, respectively. However, both models assume that schooling is the normative experience and primary responsibility of adolescents, an assumption that may not be valid for immigrant Mexican youth. This paper uses data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, 1988-92, to estimate the effects of working during the 10th grade on the likelihood of graduating from high school two years later. The sample included 10,924 individuals, of whom 1,029 were of Mexican origin. Approximately 17 percent of the Mexican-origin youth were born outside the United States. Work intensity in the 10th grade, measured as hours worked per week, had significant negative effects on high school graduation rates for Mexican-origin youth born in the United States and for non-Hispanic whites, but had a positive effect on the graduation rate of immigrant Mexican-origin youth. The findings are discussed in terms of the drive and determination of voluntary immigrants and the protective value of their culture. An adolescent's attitude toward work, rather than work itself, may be the pivotal factor determining the effects of employment on high school graduation. (Contains 34 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A