Non-economic benefits of obtaining a GED
Studley, Sarah S.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This thesis evaluates the non-economic benefits associated with obtaining a General Educational Development (GED) credential. I hypothesized that are be statistically significant benefits to earning a GED in an individual's substance use, criminal behavior, and sexual behavior, controlling for factors such as age and income. Using panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), I used a fixed effects model to estimate the effect, if any, of earning a GED while holding factors such as income and age constant. Specifically, number of arrests, daily cigarette consumption, monthly marijuana consumption, yearly instances of hard drug use, number of sexual partners, general sexual activity, and sexual promiscuity were analyzed. Because of the potential correlation between earning a GED and interactions with the criminal justice system, the latter regressions were also analyzed holding number of arrests constant. Additionally, results were analyzed by GED program type in order to discern the true non-economic benefits of earning a GED beyond those caused by coincidental criminal sanctions. Although the magnitude of the effects varied depending on the model employed, the analysis suggests that there are unambiguous benefits associated with earning a GED beyond those associated with improvements in income.
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