Work Intensity and Academic Success

  • Jeremy StaffEmail author
  • Jeylan T. Mortimer
  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


In this chapter, we review prior research examining how teenage work intensity, indicated by the average hours of paid work, its quality, and duration, relates to both short- and longer-term success in school. We examine the evidence for three plausible propositions: (1) that work intensity in adolescence has a causal effect on school achievement and educational attainment; (2) that these effects are moderated by gender, race/ethnicity, and family socioeconomic background; and (3) that the relationship between work intensity and academic success is spuriously related to preexisting differences between students. We also highlight shifts in the employment experiences of teenagers over the past 20 years based on cross-sectional data from the Monitoring the Future study, we offer four suggestions for future study, and we discuss implications for policy based upon what we know now about the intensity of teenage work.


Teenage employment Work intensity School-to-work transition Academic success High school dropout Educational attainment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Staff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeylan T. Mortimer
    • 2
  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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