Research in Higher Education

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 88–107 | Cite as

Student Employment and Persistence: Evidence of Effect Heterogeneity of Student Employment on College Dropout

  • Yool Choi


This study explores how student employment affects college persistence and how these effects differ by individual likelihood of participating in student employment. I analyze data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 using propensity score matching and stratification-multilevel analysis. This study finds that engaging in intense work has deleterious effects on college persistence. However, these negative effects vary significantly according to likelihood of participation in intense work. The results indicate that employment has less negative impacts on completion for those most likely to participate in intense work, who are typically those from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds. This finding suggests that efforts to reduce the deleterious effects of intense work on persistence should be practiced with careful consideration for sub-populations that may have different reasons for and effects of student employment.


Student employment Dropout Effect heterogeneity National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 


  1. Astin, A. W. (1993). Preventing students from dropping out. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. Aughinbaugh, A., & Gardecki, R. M. (2008). Attrition in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (Working Paper).Google Scholar
  3. Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. (1993). How part-time work intensity relates to drug use, problem behavior, time use, and satisfaction among high school seniors: Are these consequences or merely correlates? Developmental Psychology, 29(2), 220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bean, J. P. (1985). Interaction effects based on class level in an explanatory model of college student dropout syndrome. American Educational Research Journal, 22(1), 35–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bozick, R. (2007). Making it through the first year of college: The role of students’ economic resources, employment, and living arrangements. Sociology of Education, 80(3), 261–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brand, J. E., & Halaby, C. N. (2006). Regression and matching estimates of the effects of elite college attendance on educational and career achievement. Social Science Research, 35(3), 749–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brand, J. E., Pfeffer, F. T., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). Interpreting community college effects in the presence of heterogeneity and complex counterfactuals. Sociological Science, 1, 448–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brand, J. E., & Simon-Thomas, J. (2013). Causal effect heterogeneity. In S. L. Morgan (Ed.), Handbook of causal analysis for social research. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Brand, J. E., & Xie, Y. (2010). Who benefits most from college? American Sociological Review, 75(2), 273–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Braxton, J. M. (1988). Causal modeling and path analysis: An introduction and an illustration in student attrition research. Journal of College Student Development, 29(3), 263–272.Google Scholar
  11. Braxton, J. M. (2000). Reworking the student departure puzzle. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Canabal, M. E. (1998). College student degree of participation in the labor force: Determinants and relationship to school performance. College Student Journal, 32(4), 597–605.Google Scholar
  13. Coleman, J. S. (1961). The adolescent society. Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar
  14. D’Amico, R. (1984). Does employment during high school impair academic progress? Sociology of Education, 57(3), 152–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Entwisle, D. R., Alexander, K. L., & Olson, L. S. (2000). Early work histories of urban youth. American Sociological Review, 65(2), 279–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Entwisle, D. R., Alexander, K. L., & Olson, L. S. (2005). Urban teenagers. Youth & Society, 37(1), 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenberger, E., & Steinberg, L. D. (1986). When teenagers work: The psychological and social costs of teenage employment. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  18. Hebel, S. (2000). States without affirmative action focus on community-college transfers. Chronicle of Higher Education.Google Scholar
  19. Hout, M. (2012). Social and economic returns to college education in the United States. Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 379–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Iwai, S. I., & Churchill, W. D. (1982). College attrition and the financial support systems of students. Research in Higher Education, 17(2), 105–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson, M. K. (2004). Further evidence on adolescent employment and substance use: Differences by race and ethnicity. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45, 187–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kablaoui, B. N., & Pautler, A. J. (1991). The effects of part-time work experience on high school students. Journal of Career Development, 17(3), 195–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lee, J. C., & Staff, J. (2007). When work matters: The varying impact of work intensity on high school dropout. Sociology of Education, 80(2), 158–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marsh, H. W. (1991). Employment during high school: Character building or a subversion of academic goals? Sociology of Education, 64(3), 172–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marsh, H. W., & Kleitman, S. (2005). Consequences of employment during high school: Character building, subversion of academic goals, or a threshold? American Educational Research Journal, 42(2), 331–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Metzner, B. S., & Bean, J. P. (1987). The estimation of a conceptual model of nontraditional undergraduate student attrition. Research in Higher Education, 27(1), 15–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. National Center for Education Statistics [NCES]. (2010). Digest of education statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  28. National Research Council. (1998). Protecting youth at work: Health, safety, and development of working children and adolescents in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  29. Orszag, J. M., Orszag, P. R., & Whitmore, D. M. (2001). Learning and earning: Working in college. Newton: Upromise Inc.Google Scholar
  30. Pascarella, E. T., & Chapman, D. W. (1983). A multiinstitutional, path analytic validation of Tinto’s model of college withdrawal. American Educational Research Journal, 20(1), 87–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Perna, L. W. (2010). Toward a more complete understanding of the role of financial aid in promoting college enrollment: The importance of context. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 25, pp. 129–179). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pike, G. R., Kuh, G. D., & Massa-McKinley, R. C. (2008). First-year students’ employment, engagement, and academic achievement: Untangling the relationship between work and grades. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 45(4), 1012–1034.Google Scholar
  33. Rampell, C. (2011). Are young college grads too lazy to work? New York Times.Google Scholar
  34. Riggert, S. C., Boyle, M., Petrosko, J. M., Ash, D., & Rude-Parkins, C. (2006). Student employment and higher education: Empiricism and contradiction. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 63–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roksa, J. (2011). Differentiation and work: Inequality in degree attainment in US higher education. Higher Education, 61(3), 293–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roksa, J., & Velez, M. (2010). When studying schooling is not enough: Incorporating employment in models of educational transitions. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 28(1), 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rosenbaum, J. E., Deli-Amen, R., & Person, A. E. (2006). After admission: From college access to college success. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  38. Rosenbaum, P. R., & Rubin, D. B. (1983). The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika, 70(1), 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schoenhals, M., Tienda, M., & Schneider, B. (1998). The educational and personal consequences of adolescent employment. Social Forces, 77(2), 723–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Spady, W. G. (1970). Dropouts from higher education: An interdisciplinary review and synthesis. Interchange, 1(1), 64–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Staff, J., Schulenberg, J. E., & Bachman, J. G. (2010). Adolescent work intensity, school performance, and academic engagement. Sociology of Education, 83(3), 183–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stage, F. K. (1988). University attrition: LISREL with logistic regression for the persistence criterion. Research in Higher Education, 29(4), 343–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stage, F. K., & Hossler, D. (1989). Differences in family influences on college attendance plans for male and female ninth graders. Research in Higher Education, 30(3), 301–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Steinberg, L. D., Fegley, S., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1993). Negative impact of part-time work on adolescent adjustment: Evidence from a longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 29(2), 171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Steinberg, L. D., Greenberger, E., Garduque, L., & McAuliffe, S. (1982). High school students in the labor force: Some costs and benefits to schooling and learning. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 4, 363–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  48. Warren, J. R., LePore, P. C., & Mare, R. D. (2000). Employment during high school: Consequences for students’ grades in academic courses. American Educational Research Journal, 37(4), 943–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Worley, L. P. (1995). Working adolescents: Implications for counselors. The School Counselor, 42(3), 218–223.Google Scholar
  50. Xie, Y., Brand, J. E., & Jann, B. (2012). Estimating heterogeneous treatment effects with observational data. Sociological Methodology, 42(1), 314–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Studies EducationKorea National University of EducationCheongju-SiKorea

Personalised recommendations