The Links Between Youth Employment and Educational Attainment Across Racial Groups

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Research suggests that the relations between adolescent employment and youth development vary by socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity. However, it is unclear whether the links between paid work and college outcomes vary by either SES or race/ethnicity, or both. Using data from the Educational Longitudinal Study, we find that low-intensity work during high school is associated with positive college outcomes for almost all students, whereas the associations between high-intensity work and negative postsecondary outcomes are mostly limited to White students. Our results suggest that both differential selections into youth employment and differential consequences of youth employment contribute to these varying links between paid work and educational outcomes across different racial groups.

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