The Relationship Between Work During College and Post College Earnings

Daniel Douglas and Paul Attewell. Frontiers of Sociology (10 December 2019)

Open-access: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2019.00078/full


Prior research suggests that undergraduates employed during term time are less likely to graduate. Using transcript data from a large multi-campus university in the United States, combined with student earnings data from state administrative records, the authors find that traditional-age students who worked for pay during college on average earned more after leaving college than similar students who did not work. This post-college earnings premium is on par with the benefit from completing a degree, even after controlling for demographic and academic achievement characteristics, across various student sub-groups, and including models that account for selection bias. Implications of these findings for theories of education and social stratification, and for educational policy are considered.

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