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Beneficial “child labor”: The impact of adolescent work on future professional outcomes


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PurposeTheories of income inequality frequently cite child and adolescent labor as a societal problem. In contrast to such theories, we propose that path dependency coupled with enhancement of human and social capital enables some adolescents who work to find more attractive jobs later in life. MethodologyUsing the longitudinal Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) spanning over 10 years, we find support for a positive relationship between adolescents’ number of work hours and future desirable professional outcomes such as being employed, income, person-organization fit, knowing where to look for a job, and career networking. FindingsThe positive relationship, in many instances, is curvilinear and highlights the downfall of working excessive hours. We also explore whether adolescent work for a stranger or family member leads to different outcomes, and find that working in a family business leads to enhanced later life utilization of career networks as well as better person-organization fit. Social implicationsWhile we find that adolescent work intensity is linked to positive later life outcomes such as higher income, better fitting jobs, and better career networks, we also find maxima whereby additional hours worked have a diminishing effect on the outcomes. This suggests the need for societal norms and/or laws to avoid excessive adolescent work. Value of chapterThe findings in this chapter shed light on the role of early life work experiences in future professional outcomes. We show that certain types of adolescent employment can enhance future career prospects, counter to much of the established literature on the detrimental impact of youth labor.
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Beneficial "Child Labor": The Impact of Adolescent Work on Future Professional Outcomes1
Marjan Houshmand, Marc-David L. Seidel, and Dennis G. Ma
University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business
2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Running head: Impact of Adolescent Work on Future Professional Outcomes
Category: Research Paper
Keywords: Adolescent Work, Career Development, Income, Person-Organization Fit, Career
Networking, Human Capital, Social Capital, Family Business
1 This research was supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and
the Sauder School of Business. It was made possible through Statistics Canada providing access to the microlevel data
through the Research Data Centre program. The data for this study were accessed at the Inter-University Research Data
Centre at the University of British Columbia, with the kind support of Lee Grenon and Cheryl Chunling Fu. We would
like to thank Howard Aldrich, Nancy Langton, Claus Rerup, and Martin Schulz for helpful comments on earlier drafts
of the paper. All mistakes remain the responsibility of the co-authors.
Beneficial "Child Labor": The Impact of Adolescent Work on Future Professional Outcomes
Purpose: Theories of income inequality frequently cite child and adolescent labor as a societal
problem. In contrast to such theories, we propose that path dependency coupled with enhancement
of human and social capital enable some adolescents who work to find more attractive jobs later in
Methodology: Using the longitudinal Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) spanning over 10 years,
we find support for a positive relationship between adolescents’ number of work hours and future
desirable professional outcomes such as being employed, income, person-organization fit, knowing
where to look for a job, and career networking.
Findings: The positive relationship, in many instances, is curvilinear and highlights the downfall of
working excessive hours. We also explore whether adolescent work for a stranger or family
member leads to different outcomes, and find that working in a family business leads to enhanced
later life utilization of career networks as well as better person-organization fit.
Social implications: While we find that adolescent work intensity is linked to positive later life
outcomes such as higher income, better fitting jobs, and better career networks we also found
maxima whereby additional hours worked have a diminishing effect on the outcomes. This suggests
the need for societal norms and/or laws to avoid excessive adolescent work.
Value of paper: The findings in this paper shed light on the role of early life work experiences on
future professional outcomes. We show that certain types of adolescent employment can enhance
future career prospects, counter to much of the established literature on the detrimental impact of
youth labor.
"I live on broken wittles and I sleep on the coals."
-- Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Ch. 5
Managers and policy makers face the ongoing question of if it is a good practice to hire
adolescent workers. An underlying assumption in the economics literature is that there is a trade-off
between child labor and human capital (Baland & Robinson, 2000). The literature suggests most
child labor happens due to the demands of poverty and income inequality of the survival household
(Basu & Van, 1998). While this assumption likely applies to many families in poverty, the
staggering high number of adolescents working in more developed countries suggests this
phenomenon is more than a by-product of income inequality and poverty. For instance in the U.S,
more than 50 percent of high school senior students and 6 million teenagers are employed
(Hirschman & Voloshin, 2007).
Similar to many other social phenomena, child labor has gone through many changes to
reflect de facto societal structure and culture. What was once considered to be the "dark satanic
mills" (Hindman, 2009) of child exploitation by parents and business owners (Horrell &
Humphries, 1995; Zelizer, 1985), is now viewed as educational and developmental opportunities
for adolescents in preparation for the real world (Brockhaus, 2004; Mortimer, 2003). The change in
the meaning associated with adolescents working requires a deeper understanding of the historical
economic and social embeddedness of child labor, as well as the true impact of it on later work
In preindustrial societies it was normal for children to help in their family firms and child
labor mostly implied working alongside with parents on the family farm or business (Kett, 1971).
However, as the nature of work altered for everyone including parents, children started working for
non-family members. Until the late 20th century, many families depended on the financial
contributions of these young employees (de Regt, 2004). In the past few decades, in North America
and some European countries, the notion of child labor during adolescence has transformed from
exploitative to developmental. The majority of adolescents in these countries experience some form
of employment and contrary to the past, many have the option of keeping their income themselves
(de Regt, 2004). While some adolescents in this context still work out of necessity or are forced by
their parents, a significant portion seeks employment for other reasons such as career and personal
development or a degree of financial independence. As a result, in many more developed countries,
a significant number of adolescents work by choice. The form and implications of child labor
subsequently become a function of the national economy, the child labor legislation in place and the
socio and economic status of parents.
Adolescent experiences have considerable weight on identity development (Lerner &
Steinberg, 2004). As such the notion of adolescent work fuels an ongoing debate in the family
studies literature on the risks and benefits of work during the adolescence stage. While some family
studies scholars share a negative view of adolescent work and caution against its harmful effects
(Greenberger & Steinberg, 1986), such as stress and a lower level of family commitment
(Steinberg, Grennberger, Ruggiero, Garduque, & Vaux, 1982), others highlight the positive
outcomes, such as a great sense of independence (Mortimer, 2003).
The debate has highlighted the complexity of adolescent work. Numerous contradicting
theories as well as scientific evidence suggest that the simplistic question of whether adolescent
work is good or bad does not adequately address this phenomenon (Mortimer, 2010). Rather,
studying adolescent work requires a deeper understanding of the nature and intensity of work in
which adolescents engage and its impact on other aspects of adolescent life both in the short and
long term. We know very little about the detailed influences of adolescent work on career
development (Staff, Messersmith, & Schulenberg, 2009). The purpose of this study is to answer
questions surrounding this issue and shed light on some of the potentially positive consequences of
adolescent work in the long run. We theorize that the concept of adolescent work extends above
income inequality and under some circumstances could lead to desirable professional outcomes
through enriching adolescents’ human and social capital. We use a rich recent longitudinal survey,
the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) that spans over 10 years to test our theory. We conclude by
discussing both the theoretical and practical implications of the relationships between adolescent
work and career development.
Theoretical Perspectives and Related Research
Income Inequality and Adolescent Labor
Child labor is frequently viewed as exploitative in a wide variety of literatures. The
economics literature discusses child labor as an outcome of income inequality and has adopted the
assumption that parents would not send their children to work if their own income were sufficiently
high (Basu & Van, 1998). Numerous studies argue that child labor indicates inefficiency (e.g.
Baland & Robinson, 2000; Ranjan, 2001) and point to a positive correlation between child labor
and poverty, particularly in developing countries (Ray, 2000). Other literatures suggest social and
psychological costs associated with child labor are not only endured by working children and their
families (Greenberger & Steinberg, 1986), rather, the costs are also imposed on other population
groups in the society (Majumdar, 2001). They similarly suggest that child labor is a by-product of
lack of family resources and a potential challenge to receiving formal education (Walters & Briggs,
1993). The exploitation view is often studied within the context of developing countries such as
Pakistan (Bhalotra, 2007), Kenya (Buchmann, 2000), Zambia (Jensen & Nielsen, 1997), Peru
(Patrinos & Psacharopoulos, 1997), and Bolivia and Venezuela (Psacharopoulos, 1997) where
many children are required to participate in the labor market.
The young work literature has not adequately considered the path dependent and training
components of early work that can increase human and social capital and start an adolescent down a
path of a positive future career trajectory. Counter to the line of research that explicitly presumes a
trade-off between child labour and human capital (Doepke & Zilibotti, 2005; Hazan & Berdugo,
2002), we argue that with some employment opportunities adolescent work could potentially be a
positive experience. Given the unstructured nature of transition between school and work in many
developed countries (Rosenbaum, 2001), we contend that adolescent work can facilitate this
transition and better prepare an adolescent to find more attractive jobs as adults. We position our
arguments in the organizational theory and family studies literatures and argue for the positive
impact of adolescent work on career development leading to later life outcomes such as being
employed, having higher incomes, increased person-organization fit, knowing where to look for a
job, and stronger career networking.
Path Dependency from Adolescent to Adult Work
Hall (1904) coined adolescence as a “new birth” in which the environment plays a key role
in shaping rapid psychological and social development. In the preindustrial era children commonly
helped labor in family farms and shops. Attaining apprenticeship at age of 14 in the care of a
relative or neighbour or helping with the farm activities until the age of 21 were common practices
in the 19th century (Kett, 1971). After the industrial revolution, alongside parents, children became
factory workers working in harsh conditions (de Regt, 2004). Law makers changed legislation to
legally prohibit children from working under physical and emotional exhaustion. The reduction of
labor force in the market led to an increase in adult wages and consequently compensated for the
loss of children’s financial contributions to the family (de Regt, 2004). In the early 20th century,
while labor reformers contested child farm work, they were empathetic towards children working in
their own farm families (Mortimer, 2003; Zelizer, 1985). Child labor laws that protected children
from excessive or dangerous work were later expanded to include working in family farms and
businesses (Mortimer, 2003).
Yet today a large segment of adolescents around the world engage in paid labor. For
example in the U.S, around 80 to 90% of adolescents work sometime during their high school years
(Marsh, 1991). Similarly in 2006, 25% of all Canadian workers were youth under the age of 20
(Statistics Canada, 2010). While these statistics show that a large number of adolescents work, the
general improvement in the family financial pool in the recent decades has weakened the need for
adolescents to be financial contributors to the family. Many of these young workers have authority
over saving and spending their earnings and working in adolescence has become a developmental
preparation for later life (de Regt, 2004).
While many scholars agree that work shapes adolescents in both the short and long term
(Mortimer, 2010), there is less agreement on what aspect of adolescents’ lives are influenced by
employment, the degree of impact and even the desirability of the impact. An important impact of
adolescent employment is on professional outcomes later in life, an understudied topic in the
literature (Staff et al., 2009). Early professional experience situates adolescents on a career path
dependency shaping their work experiences later in life. Controlling for other factors, we contend
that employment options in adulthood relate to the type of aspirations and experiences to which
adolescents are exposed (Packard & Nguyen, 2003). Path dependency describes the relationship
between future events on initial conditions (Mahoney, 2000). We postulate that those adolescents
who gain early professional experience tend to follow a career path dependency that keeps them
employed. Not only do adolescents who work develop a habit of working and having access to
money, their work experience gives them an edge in finding and securing job opportunities.
H1: The number of work hours during adolescence is positively related to being employed
later in life.
Adolescent Work and Human Capital Enrichment
The concept of adolescent employment is closely related to human capital acquired by
adolescents during their teenage years. Becker (1962) explained human capital as a set of intangible
skills, knowledge and competency accumulated in people that has the capacity in attaining future
economic value. A common example of human capital is education that offers knowledge and well
recognized qualifications as a precursor to numerous professional jobs.
Similar to other types of capital, the return on investment in human capital depends on
situational factors as well as the nature and intensity of investment in a particular type of human
capital. It is not difficult to imagine that the magnitude of return on the number of years spent in
educational training varies considerately across different disciplines, universities, countries, and
economic and political cycles, and it is contingent upon individual differences such as age, gender,
socio-economic backgrounds and social ties. Even though there is uncertainty associated with the
magnitude of return, the literature suggests an overall positive relationship between education and
future economic value (Becker, 1964). To understand if adolescent employment categorized as a
form of human capital leads to future economic value, we need to first establish adolescent
employment as a form of human capital. The majority of adolescents find employment in retail and
service sectors and engage in a variety of tasks (Staff, Mortimer, & Uggen, 2004). They engage in
activities that are different in nature from those in their school or home. They assume
responsibilities and exchange their labor for monetary rewards. They take part in social interactions
with their employers, colleagues and customers. They also become more competent in managing
their time while balancing the demands of school and work (Mortimer, 2010). All these skills,
knowledge and competency gained through work embed intangible resources in adolescents that
can help them in securing future jobs and earnings.
Comparable to job skills training, another type of human capital, adolescent employment
prepares individuals for richer and more rewarding future work experiences. A few empirical
studies have explored the relationship between work intensity during adolescence and earned
income years later and provide support for the human capital argument. While some show that there
is no relationship between the intensity of work with future income above and beyond working in
general (Mortimer, 2003), other studies demonstrate the link between intensity of work on personal
and professional outcomes later in life (Mortimer, 2010; Staff et al., 2009). One notable study using
data from 1979 focuses on the positive impact of work intensity during senior year on earned
income later in life (Ruhm, 1997). The study showed that those who work longer hours during the
last year of high school are more likely to earn higher incomes later in life. Given the main focus of
the study on work during the senior year when adolescents are closer to becoming adults, and the
potential change of job opportunities and adolescents’ attitude towards jobs since 1979 (Mortimer,
2010), the question of the impact of employment in earlier years on economic attainment in the
modern day is still open for updating.
Other research explores the relationship between work intensity and future income from the
perspective of self-selection. Previous findings indicate that the adolescents’ socioeconomic status
and academic performance play a role in adolescent employment such that those with higher
socioeconomic status and higher average grades are more likely to be engaged in work classified as
“good jobs” characterized by lower hours of work and higher status (Hirschman & Voloshin, 2007).
In the same vein, Staff and Mortimer (2008) assert that there is a relationship between the degree of
adolescent involvement in work and their subsequent post-secondary educational and economic
pursuits. They categorize adolescent work into four groups based on the intensity of work hours per
week and duration of work during a year. Their findings suggest that the most fruitful work
engagement is steadily working 20 hours a week or less which is mostly observed in adolescents
with higher class backgrounds. They argue that the relationship between adolescent employment
and their behaviour becomes more a function of self-selection dependent on adolescent background
and interest in school (Staff & Mortimer, 2008).
While we do not contest the role of socio-economic background and academic performance
on future economic performance, we argue that adolescent work intensity uniquely contributes to
development of adolescents for a professional world. We argue that the intensity of work,
particularly during early phases of adolescence, provides adolescents access to valuable learning
opportunities and enables them to enrich their human capital (Mortimer, 2003) and enhance their
soft skills (Staff et al., 2009) which act as a means to future financial gains. The work experience
contributes to higher income by going above and beyond the role of gender, race, socio-economic
status and average high school grades. Compared to their peers with little or no work experience,
adolescents who work longer hours have more impressive resumes, better references and a deeper
knowledge of how organizations operate in general, all of which lead to securing higher income
jobs than their peers later in life.
H2a: The number of work hours during adolescence is positively related to higher income
jobs later in life.
We further posit that adolescent employment is positively related to finding jobs with higher
degrees of person-organization fit. Research findings in the organizational studies literature
highlight the importance of person-organization fit on a number of organizational outcomes such as
job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover, organizational citizenship behaviors and
performance (Hoffman & Woehr, 2006; Verquer, Beehr, & Wagner, 2003). Mortimer (2003) argues
that anecdotal evidence demonstrates that early work experience supplies adolescents with the
knowledge of what they like to do and what they do not like. She goes on to quantitatively analyze
the career relevance of work seven years after high school, yet found no significant impact of work
intensity above and beyond working in general on career relevance.
We argue that instead of focusing on career relevance, we should focus on person-
organization fit. The more adolescents are immersed in the job experience, the more likely they will
develop a deeper level of understanding of their own job preferences and work conditions. As they
grow older, adolescents gain a more realistic understanding of the world (Staff et al., 2009). Their
career aspirations and valued job characteristics become relatively stable (Blanchard &
Lichtenberg, 2003; Hartung, Porfeli, & Vondracek, 2005). Work during this young age can also
play an important role in shaping career values and aspirations (Porfeli, 2007). The deeper
knowledge coupled with richer human capital prepares adolescents to select better fitting working
environments than their counterparts. Not only do these assets facilitate adolescents selecting better
fitting organizations, but also yield sharper business acumen to help seize appropriate opportunities
in the job market matching their preferences.
H2b: The number of work hours during adolescence is positively related to better person-
organization fit later in life.
Adolescent Work and Social Capital Enrichment
Social ties can also play an important role in securing future jobs. Social capital, intangible
assets arising from social ties, has been associated with many desirable economic outcomes
(Adler & Kwon, 2002)from landing a job (Petersen, Saporta, & Seidel, 2000) to receiving
promotions (Seidel, Polzer, & Stewart, 2000). One may find a job through friends or family
working in a particular organization and have some degree of power or knowledge arising from
their ties to help in getting the job. Research suggests ties, particularly weak ties, play an
important role for individuals who are seeking jobs (Brown & Konrad, 2001; Granovetter, 1973).
We theorize that adolescent work broadens and enriches adolescents’ social capital, and
similar to adults, such ties help individuals to find jobs. Through work, adolescents form new ties
with people outside of their circles of family, friends and school. These ties connect them to
professionals across various positions and industries. Not only do these ties connect adolescents
to employment opportunities, but also they can be a fruitful source of knowledge on where and
how to look for jobs. The supervisors and colleagues at work generally have more experience to
bank on when it comes to job search than the teenage friends of adolescents. Therefore, the ties
formed at work become a source of information for adolescents to learn about available job
opportunities and where to look for jobs.
H3: The number of work hours during adolescence is positively related to having better
career networks later in life.
Data and Sample
We used a complex recent longitudinal dataset called the Youth in Transitions Survey
(YITS) to test our theory and hypotheses. The YITS was conducted jointly by Statistics Canada and
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and employed rigorous research design and
collection guidelines. It has followed a sample of 15 year olds, representing a population of
246,661Canadian adolescents for our analysis. This cohort has been surveyed every two years and
for this analysis we have data until 2009 (Cycle 6) when the fifteen year olds became 25 year olds.
Per Statistics Canada’s guidelines, we used their given longitudinal weights to account for attrition
across different cycles. Additionally, as suggested by Statistics Canada, we employed Stata BRR
(balanced repeated replication) bootstrapping procedures. The use of longitudinal weights and Stata
BRR bootstrapping procedures allows us to generalize our findings to the broader population
represented by our sample.
Dependent variables.
Being Employed: We created a dummy variable for each cycle to capture the employment
status of respondents. We coded it 1 for those who had any work involvement during the year,
otherwise it was coded as 0.
Income: This variable was based on the total income from all sources before taxes and
deductions in the previous year. Following established practice (Manning, 1998), we transformed
this measure by taking the natural log of a respondent’s income plus one.
Person-Organization Fit: We operationalized person-organization fit as reservation wage
expressed in dollars and cents per hour. Reservation wage is the lowest wage a respondent would
accept to begin a new full time job immediately (Burdett, 1978). The difference between
reservation wage and current income assigns a dollar amount to all the non-tangible benefits
received from a job from loyalty to the firm to the physical space of the firm (Mailath &
Postlewaite, 1990). In all models predicting fit, we therefore controlled for current income to rule
out higher reservation wage as merely a linear function of income. By controlling for individuals’
current income in the models, the reservation wage, includes but is not limited to other desirable
factors besides income that makes each job more or less fitting for individuals. Following the
established norm of the field (Manning, 1998), we further transformed this measure by taking the
natural log of a respondent’s reservation wage and added one.
Career Networks: We used two different measures to operationalize career networks based
on the extent to which respondents knew where to find a job and their ability to learn from others
about a job. A large portion of job search happens through informal channels and contacts and the
majority of contacts people utilize when looking for a job are work contacts that are made
professionally as opposed to personal contacts (Granovetter, 1974).
In the first operationalization we used a single item measure which asked unemployed
respondents who were actively looking for a job whether they knew where to look for a job. The
question was originally worded as “not knowing where to look for a job” and we reverse coded it
for the analysis. We created a dummy variable knowing where to look for a job in such a way that 0
indicated the respondent who did not know where to look and 1 indicates they knew where to look
for a job. For the second measure, we used the question, “outside of educational programs and
training courses, during the last year, have you through your own initiative, watched others work, or
received advice or assistance from others, to learn for a job or career? We operationalized this as a
dummy variable career networking in such a way that “No” to the above question was coded as 0
and “Yes” as 1.
Independent variables. The survey had separate questions about employment during the
school year and employment during the summer time. For consistency and also to tease out the
difference in the impact of work during the school year and summer, we created two independent
variables. The number of hours worked during the school year refers to the number of hours worked
in a typical week during the school year whereas the number of hours worked during summer
captured weekly work hours during summer. Additionally, consistent with previous findings (Lee &
Staff, 2007), we suspect that the relationship between the number of hours worked and the
outcomes may be curvilinear. As such we created square terms for number of hours worked during
fall and summer and included them in the analysis. Finally, outliers were excluded by cutting off
the top 0.5% of hours worked from each of the two seasons from our data, as those reported hours
which appear to be response errors.
Control variables. We controlled for some basic individual attributes such as age, gender
and race (Hirschman & Voloshin, 2007; Pabilonia, 2001). We also included a number of family
characteristics that play a role in the self-selection process of adolescent work (Mortimer, 2010),
such as number of siblings, parents’ socio-economic status and parents’ average age as well as
whether respondent lived in urban or rural areas. Finally, we controlled for adolescents’ GPA to
account for and tease out their high school performance from work experience. Working for a
stranger is different than working for a relative (Eckrich & Loughead, 1996; Gomez-Mejia, Cruz,
Berrone, & De Castro, 2011) and this difference may confound the influence of work on adolescent
career development. To control for this effect, we included a dummy variable coded as 1 when
adolescents had done any work in their family business during summer or school seasons.
Our analysis included all the control variables that were measured during adolescence and
purposefully excluded contemporary job attributes such as organizational size, and tenure measured
during adulthood. We argue that those adolescents who work gain a competitive advantage later in
life and can select themselves into job opportunities with desirable professional outcomes such as
income and person-organization fit, and that controlling for such contemporary adult variables
would mask exactly what we are seeking to test. We therefore limited our control variables to those
factors that literature suggests shape adolescent experience, and allow the selection effects to be
captured in the dependent variables.
We used weighted regressions and logit to test our hypotheses as appropriate. In accordance
with the Statistics Canada’s privacy restrictions, we are not permitted to provide details about the
sample size and correlation among variables but rather report on the target population weighted
appropriately. For our analysis, the target population covered 246,661 Canadians. We examined the
variance inflation factor (VIF) values of all variables in all models with the exception of squared
work hour terms, and found no significant multicollinearity problems (VIF < 1.26).
We measured our independent variables when adolescents were 15 years old and conducted
analyses on appropriate dependent variables for all the available subsequent years from when
adolescents were 17 years old to 25 years old. For each age cycle, for presentation simplicity, we
present a full model that contains all the control variables and independent variables. However, in
the actual analysis we ran four separate models for each age cycle and dependent variables to
examine the effect of important covariates independently. For the cases with significant variations
among the four models, we describe the results in a footnote.
Table 1 presents findings on the impact of adolescent employment on being employed later
in life. Since being employed is a dummy variable we conducted a logit regression to test
Hypothesis 1. Table 1 captures the results for being employed measured when adolescents were 17
to 25 years old respectively.
As seen in Table 1, at age 17 and 19, we find strong support for a positive relationship
between hours worked (at the age of 15) and higher likelihood of being employed two and four
years later. The significant negative squared coefficients suggest that the effect is not linear and the
likelihood of being employed later decreases if adolescents exhaust themselves by working too
many hours either during school or summer seasons. We found incremental hourly benefits peaked
around 25-31 hours per week during the school season, depending on the age cycle. The
intersection (zero net effect) occurs at exactly double the maxima. This suggests that, though
curvilinear in shape, working more hours during the school year (within reason) for an adolescent is
beneficial in terms of their future employment prospects, though the benefit levels off as this figure
approaches 25 hours. Taking into account that few 15 year old Canadians work this many hours, the
results simply relay that there are future employment benefits to working more hours during the
school year, characterized with diminishing marginal returns on each additional hour worked. The
age 17-19 summer employment effects follow a similar pattern with an extended range. The
maxima is between 42-45 hours, and should can be interpreted similarly, with the distinction that
full time work during the summer months appears to have the maximum impact.
Table 1 also shows that there is mixed support for Hypothesis 1 in later years. While the
number of working hours during the school season at age 15 is significantly associated with higher
likelihood of being employed at age 21, there is little evidence for number of working hours during
summer and being employed in later years (though there appears to be a significant effect in the age
25 model, the model F statistic shows that the model itself is not significant). There is also little
evidence that those who work in their family business are more likely to be employed later in life.
Insert Table 1 about here
Table 2 depicts the results of the weighted regression for the logged overall income variable
when adolescents were 17 to 25 years old. For all ages, hours worked during school when
adolescents were 15 years old led to higher incomes in subsequent years from 17 to 25 years old.
Furthermore, the number of hours worked during summer at age 15 was positively associated with
higher income at age 17, 19 and 23. The higher work intensity during both seasons is positively
associated with higher incomes later in life, providing support for Hypothesis 2a.
We also observed significant negative coefficients for the squared terms of hours worked
during school and summer seasons. This implies the relationship between number of hours worked
and future income is curvilinear. There exists a maxima in which working longer hours has a
detrimental effect on future earnings. The maxima for the number of hours work during school
season is 33 hours for both 17 and 19 ages whereas the number goes higher to 45 and 40 hours
during summer respectively. The maxima are 31 and 33 hours respectively at age 21 and 23
implying that additional hours worked during the school season at the age of 15 yields higher
income at age 21 and 23 until it reaches 31 hours (33 hours for age 23) and after that every hour
decreases the marginal earned income. We observe a similar curvilinear pattern between the
number of hours worked during summer and earned income at the age of 23 with a maxima at 46
These numbers should be interpreted with care as the majority of our population do not
come close to reaching the maxima: the relationship between early work and later income is a
positive one, but with decreasing marginal returns to each additional hour worked. Finally, as
presented in Table 2, the findings also suggest that the observed positive effect of work on future
attained income is not significantly influenced by the family relationship between adolescents and
their employers. Rather it is more a function of number of hours worked and the gained work
experience in general as opposed to working for a family member.
Insert Table 2 about here
Table 3 pertains to the impact of adolescent work intensity on person-organization fit,
measured as reservation wage, from age 17 to 25 years old. In addition to the base control variables,
we also controlled for earned income from the same year to assess the intangible benefits above and
beyond income. When adolescents were 17 years old, we find marginally significant support for
Hypothesis 2b only for number of hours worked during summer. When adolescents were 19 years
old, the number of hours worked during summer, four years prior at age 15, has a significant
positive effect on person-organization fit. This effect is marginally significant for the number of
hours worked during school season. The curvilinear effects are significant when adolescents are 17
and 19 years respectively only for number of hours worked during summer with maxima at 31 and
46 hours respectively.
The findings at age 21 and 23 provide strong support that higher number of work hours
during the age 15 school year are positively associated with higher fit six and eight years later. We
see a similar pattern for number of hours worked during summer and higher person-organization fit
when adolescents were 21 years old. At age 25, the story is more complex. In an unreported model
without the family business variable, the number of hours worked during the school year has a
direct effect but it is not curvilinear.2 The effect disappears entirely when controlling for family
business. There is no significant association between number of hours worked during summer and
person-organization fit at age 25. The curvilinear relationship was not significant for any of the age
cycles, suggesting that there is no dampening effect of hours worked at person-organization fit.
Overall, we find consistent support for Hypothesis 3 that those who are employed during
adolescence tend to find better fitting jobs later in life, reflected by higher reservation wages that go
above and beyond their earned income. The data suggests that summer work intensity has more
impact on person-organization fit at earlier ages, and school year work intensity has its effects on
person-organization fit on a longer term. Family business work experience goes above and beyond
the positive relationship between the number of work hours during school and summer seasons and
the person-organization fit variable. This is an interesting finding and suggests those adolescents
who work in their family business have a different and unique experience compared to their peers
who work for others. These adolescents are better equipped in recognizing and securing better
fitting jobs in the future as suggested by their higher reservation wage.
2 Please note for the presentation simplicity our tables do not include these models, but they are available from the first
author upon request.
Insert Table 3 about here
Finally, Tables 4 and 5 present findings for Hypothesis 3 on the positive relationship
between adolescent employment and better career networks. For Table 4, the analysis was
conducted over a subpopulation of our sample and restricted only to those who were actively
looking for a job in a given cycle (for example a target population of 39,693 at age 17). The
findings show mixed support for the relationship. The evidence, however, is stronger in early years
suggesting the social capital created in early employment years facilitates access to career networks
in terms of knowing where to look for a job but does not carry a lasting effect. The number of hours
worked during summer is marginally significant and positively related to knowing where to look for
a job when adolescents were 17 and 19 years old and similar as before, this relationship is
curvilinear with a maxima at 36 and 38 hours respectively. On the other hand, the number of hours
worked during the school season when adolescents were 15 years old is positively related to higher
knowing where to look for a job when adolescents were 21 years old but not for later age cycles.
A plausible explanation for our findings is that for those who are actively seeking
employment, prior work experience and social ties are a source of information that has a more
unique value in early ages than later phases in life. This is consistent with our findings in Table 1
and 2 that many adults find employment later in life regardless of their prior work experiences in
adolescence. Given that a higher percentage of relatively older adults gain work experience, have
had educational training and have had friends who also work than those who just enter adulthood, it
is not difficult to assume that they have a better understanding of where to look for job
opportunities than 19 year olds who are still fresh in the work force.
Insert Table 4 about here
Table 5 shows the analysis for the second measure of career networks. Our results show
partial support for the effect of number of hours worked during adolescence on having better career
networks later in life. Unfortunately data on the dependent variable was not available for the age 19
cycle, so we only report the other four available ages in the data. As seen in Table 5, the effect of
the number of hours worked during school season on career networking is marginally significant at
age 21 with a maxima at 26 hours. This relationship becomes significant at age 23 and again
marginally significant at age 25. This relationship is only marginally curvilinear at the age of 23
with the maxima at 22 hours.
Number of hours worked during summer, on the other hand, is significant for only age 17
with a maxima at 44 hours, but not in later years. Taking the outcomes of both measures together,
we conclude that adolescent work experience during the school season plays a longer term role than
of employment during the summer in providing better career networks. Summer work seems to
have shorter run impact on career networks.
Insert Table 5 about here
Table 5 also portrays an intriguing pattern about the relationship between adolescent family
business experience and having better career networks later in life. While we, overall, found no
significant relationship between family business experience and knowing where to look for a job,
we did find a strong significant positive association between working in a family business and
career networking. These results illuminate another noticeable difference in terms of career related
outcomes between adolescents who work for their relatives compared to their peers who work for
We ran a number of robustness checks. Given our study draws from data when adolescents
were 15 to 25 years old, our main concern was the role of education in human and social capital
development during those years. We, therefore, conducted a series of additional analyses to assess
whether controlling for education and the transition between work and education from one time
point to another would alter our findings. In the first wave of analysis, we repeated all the models
with two additional control variables--individual’s educational and professional engagements
measured at the same year as the dependent variables. In the second wave, we created more control
variables by adding work and education dummies from all previous cycles and included them in our
models. Finally, we created one variable for each education and work engagement which counted
all instances of education/work leading up to and including the dependent variable cycle. We added
these two variables to our original models as well as we added the interaction between the two
variables. In all of these robustness checks we found the results were substantively unchanged, and
therefore report the simpler models due to space constraint.
How does adolescent employment shape career development outcomes? In this paper, we
theorized that adolescent employment could go beyond issues surrounding income inequality as
suggested in the economics literature (Basu & Van, 1998) and has the potential to positively imprint
long term professional outcomes. To understand how early employment shapes future professional
outcomes, we drew from literature in sociology, family studies, and organizational theory to
highlight the role of path dependency, human capital and social capital to explain the observed
positive effects. Given that adolescence is a critical stage in one’s life (Lerner & Steinberg, 2004),
early employment prepares adolescents for professional success mainly through enhancing human
and social capital accessible to adolescents and acts as a competitive advantage in the labor market.
This study contributes to the family studies literature by providing empirical evidence for
some of the positive influences of adolescent work from a long term perspective. This study sheds
light on an understudied area in the literature of adolescent career development and its findings
could be a valuable contribution to the current dynamic debate that discusses the harms and benefits
of adolescent work (Staff et al., 2009). Through our analysis and findings, we were able to carefully
assert causality and generalize the findings to a broader population by using a comprehensive and
recent longitudinal data set spanning over 10 years.
We simultaneously accounted for numerous causal factors previously suggested
independently in the literature, by including a broad variety of attributes such as gender (Stevens,
Puchtell, Ryu, & Mortimer, 1992), academic performance and socioeconomic background (Staff &
Mortimer, 2008). This study contributes to our understanding by including the long term impact of
work independently of the demographic factors. Our findings suggest that adolescent work intensity
is linked to later life outcomes such as higher income, better fitting jobs, and better career networks.
We were also able to draw deeper inferences about the relationship between adolescent work and
career development by examining the impact based on the number of hours worked rather than a
relatively simplistic dummy variable for any work experience. This allowed us to calculate maxima
whereby additional hours worked have a diminishing effect on the outcomes.
Our findings suggest that the positive likelihood of being employed as a result of adolescent
employment diminishes over time. This is, however, not surprising given that as adolescents enter
adulthood they increasingly engage in labor market regardless of their prior work experience. Prior
work experience sets adolescents apart in terms of what type of job they can secure and what kind
of career networks they can establish and draw upon.
We found strong support for the positive relationship between higher income and number of
hours worked during summer and school year such that adolescent work is positively associated
with higher earned income in future years. In our models the regression coefficients for number of
hours worked during school season are higher than the corresponding coefficients for number of
hours worked during summer. In other words, an hour worked during the school year has a higher
return than an hour worked during summer. A plausible explanation is that those adolescents who
study and work at the same time are more likely apt in time management skills and can secure
higher income jobs than their counterparts.
We also found strong support for the positive impact of adolescent work on person-
organization fit later in life. Adolescents learn about what they like and what they do not through
early exposure to work (Mortimer, 2003) and their understanding of the labor market enables them
to be matched to better fitting work environments. Similar with income, we observe the more
central role of work during school season as opposed to summer that helps adolescents in working
in a better fitting organization. As such, working in summer had a positive outcome in earlier years
whereas the impact of working in the school season was observed at later ages.
Finally, work during adolescence provides access to better career networks, although
support was mixed. This study highlights and empirically analyzes the important role work plays in
developing the social capital of adolescentsan area has not been empirically explored within the
family studies literature previously. The data suggests that work helps adolescents with establishing
better career networks from which they can learn about jobs and job opportunities. The effect is
more visible and greater for work during the school season. Evidently, not only does the intensity of
work matter in adolescent work development, but also the seasonal impact of work with respect to
other life obligations such as schooling is an influential factor. Therefore, in investigating the
impact of adolescent work, the temporal seasonal dimensions of work also play a role in shaping
these young employees.
An important practical and theoretical implication of this study is that while the findings
suggest working longer hours is linked to more desirable outcomes through enhanced human and
social capital, there is a maxima where the impact is reversed (Lee & Staff, 2007; Mortimer, 2010).
For example, the data indicates that for income on average there is an optimum range of work hours
during school and summer seasons, which we found to be around 33 and 43 hours per week
respectively. This implies that for an average adolescent an increase in work hours up to the 33rd
hour has a marginal benefit but after the 33rd hour the increase in work hours is negative.
Our findings are surprising given previous studies have chosen the reference group for work
intensity to be 20 hours and have categorized adolescent work into groups of working less than 20
hours and working more than 20 hours. While these studies usually point out to the benefits of
working fewer than 20 hours (Mortimer, 2010), our study highlights the need for future research to
focus on including more concrete measure of work such as number of work hours rather than
categories of work intensity. Practitioners and policy makers need to be careful that this range is the
average observed pattern for the general population and further customization is required for each
adolescent depending on their unique personal attributes. As the data shows, it also varies during
school year and summer time. Therefore, while we encourage adolescents to engage in work, we
caution them against working too many hours and exhausting themselves or losing the opportunity
for other types of positive development.
Our findings should be viewed cautiously and not be used in promoting child labor without
providing the necessary learning opportunities and safe environment. Our sample was taken from a
developed country where the laws and regulations offer some protection to children from being
abused and may not be applicable in societies with more lenient child labor laws. We acknowledge
that even in this context some children may not have an option and work due to necessity. In such
cases, the number of work hours is usually dictated to them by their financial situation. Therefore,
as the findings in this study suggest, the effect of work on future professional outcomes becomes
detrimental when these adolescents work longer hours than the maxima points and the influence of
human and social capital gained from work experience during adolescence may be severely limited
in extreme cases.
In this vein, we conducted supplemental analysis to find out who would be more likely to
work and also work longer hours. Given our data structure, the earliest information available to us
on adolescents was from the same time as when our independent variables were measured.
Therefore, we were able to only conduct cross-sectional models. We observed that female white
adolescents, who had access to their family business, had more siblings, were born to younger
parents and had higher GPAs and higher socio-economic backgrounds, were more likely to work
during the school year than their peers. On the other hand, adolescents with similar attributes but
who had lower GPAs and lower socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to work longer
hours. This is consistent with the previous literature that suggests social class is related to
adolescent work intensity (Staff & Mortimer, 2008). Given the cross-sectional nature of the data,
these findings suggest future studies should investigate who selects into working and who selects
into working longer hours during adolescence, and explore whether similar mechanisms and
attributes could also play a role in selecting the type of work individuals engage in later in life.
Our study also offers unique insight about the role of the relationship between adolescents
and their employers and how family ties at work influence adolescent career development-
something that has not been previously investigated in the literature. While we did not theorize
about the influence of working in family business compared to working in non-family business, we
empirically explored whether the experience of working for a family member had a unique
influence that goes above and beyond the impact of general work experience on professional
outcomes. We observed those adolescents who worked in their family business consistently found
better fitting jobs later in life and had better career networks. These findings suggest the work
experience and career network available to adolescents in their family business is different from
what their peers experience in working for strangers. These results open interesting avenues of
future research both in family studies and family business studies to further probe into the
difference across not only the type of work adolescents engage in but also the nature of relationship
between the adolescent and the employers.
This study also contributes to the organizational studies literature by shedding light on the
role of early life experiences on future professional outcomes. It is through early employment that
adolescents develop a deeper sense about the work and business world, acquire sharper business
acumen and hone more concrete technical skills, all of which enhance their future career prospects.
The attained human and social capital become their competitive advantage over their peers and
prepare them to better select jobs with higher income and better organizational fit. We hope the
findings of this study encourage organizational scholars to more deeply consider incorporating
individuals’ early life experiences in later life work outcomes.
Finally, our findings open many avenues of future research in exploring the unique impact
of work on future outcomes. What is the role of selection in shaping and differentiating adolescent
work experience? Specifically, what factors influence adolescents’ decision to work, type of work,
intensity and seasonality of work? If these factors propagate beyond adolescence to adulthood, how
can individuals escape them? Lastly, there remains much to be done with respect to delineating the
mechanisms which impact adolescent development in both the short and long term. Is it the time
management skills, immersing in work, assuming responsibilities, conducting complex tasks,
gaining deeper understanding of the career world, or developing social ties that is responsible for
the unique effect of work on professional outcomes? Hopefully, these research questions will be
profitably addressed in future studies.
Weighted Logit Predicting Being Employed for Adolescents from Age 17-25
Being Employed at Different Ages
Age 17
Age 19
Age 21
Age 25
Number of Siblings
Parent's SES
Parent's Avg. Age
Family Business Any Season
School Hrs Worked
School Hrs Worked Squared
Summer Hrs Worked
Summer Hrs Worked Squared
+ p< .10 * p<.05 ** p<.01 *** p<.001
Note: All independent variables are measured when adolescents were 15 years old.
Weighted Regression Predicting Logged Overall Income for Adolescents from Age 17-25
Logged Income at Different Ages
Age 17
Age 19
Age 21
Age 23
Age 25
Number of Siblings
Parent's SES
Parent's Avg. Age
Family Business Any Season
School Hrs Worked
School Hrs Worked Squared
Summer Hrs Worked
Summer Hrs Worked Squared
+ p< .10 * p<.05 ** p<.01 *** p<.001
Note: All independent variables are measured when adolescents were 15 years old.
Weighted Regression Predicting Logged Person-Organization Fit for Adolescents from Age 17-25
Logged Person-Organization Fit at Different Ages
Age 17
Age 19
Age 21
Age 23
Age 25
Number of Siblings
Parent's SES
Parent's Avg. Age
Family Business Any Season
School Hrs Worked
School Hrs Worked Squared
Summer Hrs Worked
Summer Hrs Worked Squared
+ p< .10 * p<.05 ** p<.01 *** p<.001
Note: All independent variables are measured when adolescents were 15 years old.
Weighted Logit Predicting Knowing Where to Look for a Job from Age 17-25
Knowing Where to Look at Different Ages
Age 17
Age 19
Age 21
Age 23
Age 25
Number of Siblings
Parent's SES
Parent's Avg. Age
Family Business Any Season
Hours Worked during School
Hours Worked during School Squared
Hours Worked during Summer
Hours Worked during Summer Squared
+ p< .10 * p<.05 ** p<.01 *** p<.001
Note: All independent variables are measured when adolescents were 15 years old.
Weighted Logit Predicting Career Networking for Adolescents from Age 17-25
Career Networking at Different Ages
Age 17
Age 21
Age 23
Age 25
Number of Siblings
Parent's SES
Parent's Avg. Age
Family Business Any Season
School hrs Worked
School hrs Worked Squared
Summer hrs Worked
Summer hrs Worked Squared
+ p< .10 * p<.05 ** p<.01 *** p<.001
Note: All independent variables are measured when adolescents were 15 years old.
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Marjan Houshmand is a Ph.D. student in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources at the
University of British Columbia. Her research is focused on understanding the relatively
understudied field of business families. She is published in Human Relations. She received her
BASc degree in electronics engineering and M.B.A. at Simon Fraser University.
Marc-David L. Seidel is an associate professor and Chair of the Organizational Behaviour and
Human Resources Division at the University of British Columbia. His current research interests
include entrepreneurship, diffusion, social networks, and life course models. He is published in
both sociology and management outlets including American Journal of Sociology, Research in
the Sociology of Organizations, International Migration Review, Administrative Science
Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Industrial
Relations, and Strategic Organization. He received his B.A. in Economics with a concentration
in Law & Society at Cornell University; his M.B.A. at the Johnson Graduate School of
Management, Cornell University; and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and
Industrial Relations at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley.
Dennis G. Ma is a research staff member at the University of British Columbia, and a statistical
assistant at the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre. His current research interests include
immigration, family business, and early life influences of later life work outcomes. He is
published in the International Migration Review. He is a recent graduate of the Commerce
Scholars Program at the University of British Columbia, where he received his BComm degree.
... Finally, adolescents who work in their family firms are exposed to unique work experiences that shape them differently than their counterparts. For example, one study showed that those who work in their family business are more likely in the future to enjoy richer career networking and select themselves into organizations with more fitting characteristics than other adolescents who work for a non-family member (Houshmand, Seidel, & Ma, 2014). The experience in the work role could spill over to the family role through both the affective and instrumental paths which makes the family role more positive or negative depending on the experience (Greenhaus & Powell, 2006). ...
... When parents hire their adolescents into the business, they provide a unique work environment to adolescents. The unique work environment stems from the familial ties these young workers have with their employers (Houshmand et al., 2014) who are more likely to encourage the youngsters to engage in more interesting and complex tasks than other potential employers at odd jobs elsewhere. This positive experience in the work role could spill over to other settings (Greenhaus & Powell, 2006). ...
... In other words, because we have variables for family firm work as well as general work, any family firm work effects can be interpreted as occurring above and beyond that of general work effects. Indeed, the motivation for including this variable is central to our argument that year round family firm involvement has benefits beyond those associated with working in general (e.g., Houshmand, Seidel, & Ma, 2014). ...
Full-text available
Previous ecological theory of human development research shows mixed results concerning the impact of adolescent work on psychological and family outcomes. We show the consequences of working in the family firm on adolescents' parental relationships, self-esteem and depression, highlighting the importance of high quality work experiences in the early life course. Weighted regression analysis of longitudinal data from Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth shows that those adolescents who work in their family firms on a year round basis report a better relationship with their parents, and better psychological well-being than their non-family firm working counterparts.
... Young workers are embedded in diverse, often conflicting arguments regarding what it means for them to work. For example, some researchers note that a certain amount of limited, early work is considered acceptable, even desirable, within the Global North, as it is thought by parents, school officials and others to inculcate social capital (McCoy and Smyth, 2007) and character building (Nagengast et al., 2014) through developing a reliable work ethic and/or responsibility (Levine and Hoffner, 2006;Phillips and Sandstrom, 1990) and may provide young people the opportunity to develop work skills for the future (McKechnie et al., 2014;Houshmand et al., 2014). Such discussion reflects a broader focus on young people as 'becoming', or undergoing an unfolding process of development and socialization (James et al., 1998). ...
We report on interviews with very young Canadian workers regarding their first jobs, with a focus on why they started working, the rewards and risks of their work, and their familial supports. Our participants were largely positive about their early work experiences, although they also raised concerns, e.g. about safety. We reflect on three inter-related themes emerging from their accounts: competence and vulnerability, independence and dependence, and protection and under-protection.
... Participating in intellectual discussions which shape the future of the field can be an incredibly enriching and developmental experience. Individuals can be imprinted by early cultural experiences which influence later work behaviors (Dokko, Wilk, & Rothbard, 2009;Houshmand, Seidel, & Ma, 2014;Marquis & Tilcsik, 2013). Exposure to a strong developmental conference culture is a type of long-lasting professional socialization similar to the impact of any previous work experience. ...
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Stepping into the five year leadership role of the Academy of Management Organization and Management Theory Division (OMT), I asked, “Is the primary purpose of an academic conference to curate the best current work in the field for dissemination?” Perhaps it was in the past, and the institutional processes in place certainly appear to be designed to accomplish that goal (even if they fail to do so at times). But nowadays all of the technical communication advances built into emerging community-based organizational forms (C-Forms) (Seidel & Stewart, 2011) can accomplish such dissemination of individual working papers much more quickly and effectively. The curation roles of conferences are now secondary, as much work formally presented at conferences has already been seen by others in the field through other faster dissemination mechanisms. But has the conference outlived its usefulness for the field? No. In fact it may be more important now than ever as the profession reaches a crossroads requiring cultural shift. The institutional work necessary to reinvigorate the developmental culture of the profession can and should start with conferences.
Employment is considered to have a great impact on people's quality of life. However, it is thought to be one of the major problems adolescents and young adults have to face during their transition to the adulthood. Given their impairments, individuals with ASD face several barriers to their vocational rehabilitation. Yet many of them are capable of being independent and working effectively when they are well supported. Since they deal with several challenges due to their condition, high rates of unemployment or underemployment are very common among them. This chapter provides a view of the barriers that can affect the employment outcomes of this population and strategies (e.g., supported employment programs and technology-based interventions) for overcoming those barriers. In particular, the social deficits that characterize ASD may result in difficulty in developing and maintaining high-quality social skills and competence in communication, which are important for finding employment and staying in a work position.
The current study investigated a model of the work-school interface among working adolescents. The examined model investigated the partial mediating role of conflict and facilitation relations between three antecedents (social support, number of working hours, and the existence or absence of the freedom to choose to work) on three outcomes (life satisfaction, school grades and academic behavior). The participants were 289 Israeli working students (Mage = 17.56; SDage = 0.56). SEM analysis indicated an adequate index fit, suggesting that aspects of conflict and facilitation relations co-exist when blending work and school. Social support, number of working hours, and the freedom to choose to work were associated with facilitation relations which, in turn, were associated with greater life satisfaction, higher school grades, and higher academic behavior. Low social support and the absence of freedom to choose to work were associated with conflict relations that, in turn, were associated with lower academic behavior. Results suggest that role blending during adolescence and adulthood share similar mechanisms. Practical implications are discussed.
Adolescents spend their time in a broad range of work and leisure activities (Larson & Verma, 1999). Adolescent work activities occur in various contexts—in home, school, and volunteer settings, as well as in paid jobs. Adolescent leisure activities take place in similarly diverse locales; they include both passive media use (watching television, listening to music, reading, and browsing the Internet) and active recreation, such as sports, extracurricular activities, and clubs and organizations at school (Larson & Verma, 1999, pp. 702–703). These active pursuits, as well as some of the more passive ones, are generally considered beneficial or “good” leisure activities because they often provide challenges and learning opportunities for the young person (Csikszentmihalyi & Schneider, 2000).
Preface (1994)AcknowledgmentsIntroduction31From Mobs to Memorials: The Sacralization of Child Life222From Useful to Useless: Moral Conflict Over Child Labor563From Child Labor to Child Work: Redefining the Economic World of Children734From a Proper Burial to a Proper Education: The Case of Children's Insurance1135From Wrongful Death to Wrongful Birth: The Changing Legal Evaluation of Children1386From Baby Farms to Black-Market Babies: The Changing Market for Children1697From Useful to Useless and Back to Useful? Emerging Patterns in the Valuation of Children208Notes229Index267
This article combines status attainment research with research on values and beliefs to understand educational stratification in Kenya. With household survey data, I examine the impact of family background and structure, division of household labor, and parental perceptions on children's educational participation. Parents' expectations for future financial help from children and perceptions of labor-market discrimination against women are significant determinants of children's enrollment. Patriarchal norms and child labor have no effect. Educational inequalities are better understood as due to the evaluation of returns to education and household resource constraints than as due to gender stereotypes or reliance on child labor. The results challenge traditional explanations of educational inequality in less industrialized societies and suggest that policies to spark school demand in developing countries may be misguided.
We explore the determinants of employment and school enrollment among black children and white children in North Carolina and South Carolina in 1910. Our analysis situates decisions about children's employment and schooling in the context of the family, the local labor market, and the local educational system. Family resources were an important determinant of children's employment, especially for white children, but labor-market opportunities were the main predictors of the type of employment, given that children worked. Net of children's employment status, family resources also affected the likelihood of children's school enrollment. Working in a nonagricultural industry interfered with schooling, whereas working in agriculture did not affect the likelihood of school enrollment. Finally, school enrollment of black children was depressed by a lack of educational opportunities. Racial differences in educational opportunities were a more important determinant of racial inequalities in school enrollment than were racial inequalities in family resources or work opportunities.
While the association between teenagers' work and academic performance continues to be debated in studies of adolescent employment, many researchers have found that “intensive” involvement in paid work increases the risk of high school dropout. It is still unclear, however, whether this relationship is spurious owing to preexisting differences in socioeconomic background, school performance, aspirations, and orientations toward work and school. Using propensity- score matching techniques, the authors address this issue and assess variation in the effects of work hours on the probability of dropping out of high school. The results suggest that long hours on the job do not encourage high school dropout among all students.
Family businesses are reported to consist of overinvolved family relationships. Overinvolvement often leads to conflict when late adolescents attempt to develop their own identity, separate from the home, and choose an occupation. This study examines differences between family-and non-family-business offspring in relation to psychological overinvolvement, and career choice and development. Analyses of assessments completed by 248 undergraduate college students does not support the belief that family business members are overinvolved with each other, but does suggest implications for the career development of family business offspring.