Youth Idleness in the United States: Persistence, Heterogeneity, and Educational Stepping Stones
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AbstractThis paper studies idleness—time spent out of work and school—among young men in the
first 10 years after graduating from high school in the United States. We begin by documenting
new facts on the distribution of idleness spells and cumulative exposure to idleness. These facts
motivate a dynamic model of labor market entry that allows for transitions between work,
idleness, and two levels of schooling. We find evidence of an idleness trap, a causal effect
of idleness on future idleness. Our estimates also reveal that low-commitment school options,
such as community college, provide a meaningful stepping stone to further schooling but not
to work. We then use the model’s characterization of individual heterogeneity to identify
the effect of youth idleness on employment and earnings when young men are in their early
thirties. We find idleness reduces long-run employment and future earnings. We estimate
that an additional six-month period in idleness lowers earnings 10 years after high school
graduation by 5.4 percent.
Acceptance Date14/06/2019
All Author(s) ListMark Borgschulte, Yuci Chen, Xiaoyu Xia, Jin Yan
Name of Conference2019 Asian Meeting of Econometrics Society
Start Date of Conference14/06/2019
End Date of Conference16/06/2019
Place of ConferenceXiamen
Country/Region of ConferenceChina
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2020-09-04 at 16:58