The Impact of the Market and the Family on Youth Employment and Labor Supply

Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier

NBER Working Paper No. 415 (Also Reprint No. r0241)
Issued in December 1979
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

This paper analyzes the school enrollment and labor supply decisions of teenagers and young adults as jointly deter-mined outcomes. The empirical results are based on an application of discrete multivariate analysis to a sample taken from the Survey of Income and Education. Higher relative wage offers are found to reduce the probability of a youth enrolling in school and to increase labor supply. However, the estimated impacts are very sensitive to adjustments made for the possibility that wage rate offers by firms are higher for full-time than for part-timework. Job availability, as measured by the local youth unemployment rate, has its strongest effect on the probability of enrollment and full-time labor force participation for nonwhite males, accounting, in the extreme, for a difference in this probability of almost 50 percent. Since a wage measure is included as an independent variable, we can be sure that the job availability measure is not acting as a surrogate for an absent wage variable, but instead has an impact of its own. Specific findings on the influence of various family and market characteristics are compared to those from earlier studies.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0415

Published: Gustman, Alan L. and Steinmeier, Thomas L. "The Impact of Wages and Unemployment on Youth Enrollment and Labor Supply." The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. LXIII, No. 4, (November 1981), pp. 553- 560.

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