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Making Summer Matter: The Impact of Youth Employment on Academic Performance

50 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2015  

Amy Ellen Schwartz

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jacob Leos-Urbel

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy

Matthew Wiswall

Arizona State University (ASU)

Date Written: August 2015

Abstract

Holding a summer job is a rite of passage in American adolescence, a first rung towards adulthood and self-sufficiency. Summer youth employment has the potential to benefit high school students’ educational outcomes and employment trajectories, especially for low-income youth. This paper examines New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). SYEP provides jobs to youth ages 14-24, and due to high demand for summer jobs, allocates slots through a random lottery system. We match student-level data from the SYEP program with educational records from the NYC Department of Education, and use the random lottery to estimate the effects of SYEP participation on a number of academic outcomes, including test taking and performance. We find that SYEP participation has positive impacts on student academic outcomes, and these effects are particularly large for students who participate in SYEP multiple times. These findings suggest substantial heterogeneity in program effects, and an important avenue for policy makers to target the program to those who might benefit from it the most.

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Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Amy Ellen and Leos-Urbel, Jacob and Wiswall, Matthew, Making Summer Matter: The Impact of Youth Employment on Academic Performance (August 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21470. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2645566

Amy Schwartz (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy ( email )

United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jacob Leos-Urbel

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy ( email )

United States

Matthew Wiswall

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

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