Monday, September 14, 2009

The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels

James J. Heckman and Paul A. LaFontaine: Geary WP/28/2008. The authors establish that:

(a) the true high school graduation rate is substantially lower than widely used measures;
(b) the U.S. graduation rate peaked in the early 1970s;
(c) majority/minority differentials are substantial and have not converged over the past 35 years;
(d) lower post-1970 rates are not solely due to increasing immigrant and minority populations;
(e) their findings explain part of the slowdown in college attendance and the rise in college wage premiums;
(f) growing high school graduation differentials by gender help explain increasing male-female college attendance gaps.


Kevin Denny said...

Do we have comparable data for Ireland?

Martin Ryan said...

Kevin, I'll send you something I've done on historical time trends for higher education in Ireland. It's based on "enrolment rates", which is the best way to look at the demand for higher education.

I am confident that it would be possible to look at overall student numbers in secondary school. Overall numbers are a bit cruder, but they are a proxy.

In relation to the Heckman paper, anonymised micro-data from the Irish Census is available from 1981onwards, to the best of my knowledge.

Kevin Denny said...

About 10 years ago Doireann FitzGerald did her MA thesis looking at human capital stocks for Ireland which I think involved calculating enrollment rates.