The Extent and Consequences of High School Employment

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher J Ruhm, Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: During the mid-1970s, a number of prestigious commissions convened to study the problems of adolescents reached the common conclusion that additional early work experience would foster the development of personal responsibility, smooth the transition from youth to adulthood, and improve educational performance and occupational attainment. Shortly thereafter, a number of federal initiatives were passed with the goal of increasing the employment experience of youths. These recommendations were made in the absence of hard empirical evidence that increased job-holding caused or even was correlated with favorable outcomes. Economic theory also fails to provide unambiguous predictions concerning the efficacy of youth employment. For example, the human capital model identifies both potential benefits and costs of working. On the one hand, time devoted to jobs could detract from potentially more productive educational investments. On the other, the employment might provide skills and knowledge which increase future productivity and complement in-class learning. Early work experience could also speed the process by which youths obtain positions where there is a good match between job requirements and worker qualifications.

Additional Information

Journal of Labor Research, Vol. 16, No. 3, Summer 1995, 293-303
Language: English
Date: 1995
High school employment, Responsibility, Educational performance, Job attainment

Email this document to