John W. Gardner Center for Youth
and Their Communities
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2015||Making Summer Matter: The Impact of Youth Employment on Academic Performance|
with Amy Ellen Schwartz, Matthew Wiswall: w21470
Holding a summer job is a rite of passage in American adolescence, a first rung towards adulthood and self-sufficiency. Summer youth employment has the potential to benefit high school students’ educational outcomes and employment trajectories, especially for low-income youth. This paper examines New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). SYEP provides jobs to youth ages 14-24, and due to high demand for summer jobs, allocates slots through a random lottery system. We match student-level data from the SYEP program with educational records from the NYC Department of Education, and use the random lottery to estimate the effects of SYEP participation on a number of academic outcomes, including test taking and performance. We find that SYEP participation has positive impacts o...