High School Preparation and Early Labor Force Experience
NBER Working Paper No. 342 (Also Reprint No. r0396)
The relationship between high school training and work experience on the one hand and early labor force experience on the other are analyzed in the paper. In addition, the extent and nature of the persistence of early labor force experience is evaluated. The study is based on data for male youths from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972. While there appears to be no relationship between job-related training in high school and post-graduation weeks worked or wage rates, there is a strong relationship between hours worked while in high school and both weeks worked and wage rates in the first four years after graduation. High school class rank and test scores also are positively related to early weeks worked and wage rates in the labor force. It is also found that after controlling for individual specific characteristics of youth, there is little relationship between weeks worked in the first year after high school graduation and weeks worked four years later. And there is almost no relationship between initial wage rates and wage rates four years later, other than those attributable to measured and unmeasured individual specific characteristics. There is little persistence of early experience that cannot be attributed to heterogeneity among youth. There is, however, an effect of early work experience on later wage rates, although it is of modest magnitude in this sample of high school graduates.