CDEP-CGEG WORKING PAPER NO. 20

Time Gaps in Academic Careers

Evan Riehl

Abstract:

Forgiving education systems create churning by allowing students to defer the completion of their schooling. This paper asks if time gaps in academic careers can lower educational attainment. I study an academic calendar shift in Colombia that created a one semester gap between high school and potential college entry. This brief gap reduced college enrollment rates relative to unaffected regions. Low SES students were more likely to forgo college, and individuals who did enroll after the gap chose higher paying majors.  Thus academic time gaps can affect both the mean and the distribution of schooling, with implications for wage inequality.

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