Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out
NBER Working Paper No. 14044
The option to obtain a General Education Development (GED) certificate changes the incentives facing high school students. This paper evaluates the effect of three different GED policy innovations on high school graduation rates. A six point decrease in the GED pass rate due to an increase in national passing standards produced a 1.3 point decline in overall high school dropout rates. The introduction of a GED certification program in high schools in Oregon produced a four percent decrease in high school graduation rates. Introduction of GED certificates for civilians in California increased the high school dropout rate by 3 points. The GED program induces students to drop out of high school.
Published: James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Paul A. LaFontaine & Pedro L. Rodrï¿½guez, 2012. "Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 495 - 520.
An online appendix is available for this publication.
This paper was revised on December 5, 2011