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Student Work and Academic Performance

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Student Work and Academic Performance

Page 1 of 25
Student work and academic performance
Janez Šušteršič, Bojan Nastav, Tanja Kosi University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper

Abstract By taking on occasional temporary jobs, students may gain valuable experience that might enhance their future opportunities in the labour market. On the other hand, the preferential tax treatment of their earnings gives them more an incentive to work than to study and therefore to delay their graduation in order to keep the valuable »student status« for as long as possible. This article provides statistical tests of the hypothesis that student work increases drop-outs and thus delays the time to graduation. We use a rich sample of individual-level data, provided by one of the several student employment services and including information on students' time devoted to work, type of their activity and their academic performance in terms of fulfilling all the requirements for regular progression to successive years of study. The results reveal some evidence for this hypothesis, but it is not as clear-cut as expected. Moreover, there is also some evidence that student work does provide valuable experience for some students. Key words: student work, regulation, labor market, youth, unskilled workers, graduates JEL: J08, J21, J42, J44

1. Introduction
By taking on occasional temporary jobs, students may gain valuable experience that might enhance their future opportunities in the labour market and, if related to their field of study, even increase their academic motivation. On the other hand, should they be lured or forced into an extensive work engagement to increase their earnings, this may reduce their academic effort, delay their studies or increase drop-outs. It is hard to form any strong a priori expectations as to which of the two effects would prevail. This paper provides an empirical test of their importance.

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The paper is motivated by the current public debate in Slovenia about the merits and perils of...