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Community College Program Choices in the Wake of Local Job Losses

Riley Acton ()

Journal of Labor Economics, 2021, vol. 39, issue 4, 1129 - 1154

Abstract: Deciding which field to study is one of the most consequential decisions college students make, but most research on the topic focuses on students attending 4-year colleges. To understand how students attending community colleges make field-of-study decisions, I link administrative educational records of recent high school graduates with local mass layoff and plant-closing announcements. I find that declines in local employment deter students from entering closely related community college programs and instead induce them to enroll in other vocationally oriented programs. Students predominantly shift enrollment between programs that lead to occupations requiring similar skills.

Date: 2021
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