The Long-run Impact of Teenage Work Experience: A Reexamination
Recent concern about the economic status of non-college bound youth has again drawn attention to the high rates of unemployment experienced by minority and disadvantaged youth. While it is often feared that high rates of early unemployment negatively impact future employment and earnings, recent studies show little to no impact of early non-work on future employment with a larger impact on future wages. These studies, however, only infer the size of long-run impacts, and typically measure the impact of early non-work in an era of relatively tight labor markets. This study considers, for a sample of youth who left high school between the years of 1980 and 1984, the impact of hours worked in high school on wages and hours worked up to eight years after high school. In contrast to previous studies, early work experience is found to have a significant long-run impact on future employment and an insignificant impact on wages.