provide the best evidence that is likely ever to be available on the consequences of work during high school.

In several studies using NLSY data, long hours of work during high school, particularly during the senior year, have been associated with higher wages and steadier employment for up to 10 years after high school. These apparent economic advantages are accompanied by some decrease in overall educational attainment. If there are long-term economic advantages to working while in school, studies of people beyond their late 20s will have to be conducted. Ruhm (1997) speculates that the strong positive correlation between senior year employment and measures of job status 10 years later make it likely that this economic advantage will persist. Chaplin and Hannaway (1996) also suggest that the earnings advantage may persist for at-risk youngsters.

Of concern, however, is that the apparent short-term economic advantages of work experiences during high school are associated with some decrease in overall educational attainment. And, overall educational attainment has been found to be a strong predictor of long-term economic well-being (Angrist and Krueger, 1991; Bureau of the Census, 1993; DiPrete and McManus, 1996). It is possible that students who complete college, particularly those who pursue advanced degrees, could take more than 10 years after high school graduation to reap the economic rewards of their schooling. It will be important to study what happens to these groups of young people as they reach their peak earning years in their 40s and 50s, to ascertain if the benefits of high school employment persist or are overshadowed by reduced educational attainment. In fact, a recent study using econometric modeling techniques (Hotz et al., 1998) found that, once unmeasured differences between subjects were accounted for, the economic advantages to working while in high school disappeared: Students who went to school full-time without working had a much bigger wage advantage at age 27 than those who combined school and work.

Looking at the developmental consequences of employment for youth provides substantial evidence that working long hours is not good for them. Many studies show that high-intensity work while in school—generally defined as more than 20 hours per week during the school year—can be deleterious. Long hours of work are associated with increased likelihood that youngsters will engage in prob-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement