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Labour participation of higher education students

Jean-Luc De Meulemeester and Denis Rochat

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: The aim of this article is to shed light on the determinants of the decision to participate in the labour force while studying, and of the intensity of this participation as measured by the wages earned by students. We show that students react to their future expected economic benefits associated with their chosen course of study. In this sense, our results confirm Lévy-Garboua’s (Revue française de Sociologie XVII: 53–80, 1976) thesis of working as an adjustment variable for the variations in the expected rate of return of discipline. Our results indicate that the decision to work while studying and its intensity depend on students’ socioeconomic status and material needs, as well as external financial resources. Altogether, our results suggest that the equity and internal efficiency implications of such a social bias in the labour force participation behaviour might not be too important, but that some public interventions might nevertheless improve the overall external efficiency by allowing students to spend more time on more valorizing activities rather than unskilled and low-paid jobs.

Date: 2000-09
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Published in: Labour (2000) v.14 n° 3,p.503-522

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