Is High School Employment Consumption or Investment?
NBER Working Paper No. 5030
Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this study examines whether employment by high school students improves or worsens economic attainment 6 to 9 years after the scheduled date of high school graduation. There is no indication that light to moderate job commitments ever have a detrimental impact and hours worked during the senior grade are positively correlated with future earnings, fringe benefits, and occupational status. These results are robust across a variety of specifications and suggest that employment increases net investments in human capital and facilitates the school- to-work transition, particularly towards the end of high school and for students not continuing on to college.
Published: Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 113, no. 1 (February 1998): 285-317.