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[Vol.25 No.4] The Impacts of Student Loans on Early Labor Market Performance

Group :
Economic Research Institute (02-759-5318) 2019.12.31 3203

Author : Dongkyu Yang(University of Colorado), Jaesung Choi(Sungkyunkwan Univ.)


This study examines the labor market performance of graduates who had student loans. Compared to earlier studies, we extended analyses to all jobs that were experienced for more than 18 months after graduation. First, we found that students who had student loans earned 2.81% less at their first job compared to their counterparts without student loans. Second, the wage gap decreased over time, a reduction of 0.66%p due to labor market turnovers. Third, when we compared cumulated labor income, however, the amount for borrowers were continuously higher. This is because the job searching period of a borrower was shorter, despite relatively lower wages at the first job, and borrowers also made more frequent job turnovers, accompanying relatively more wage increases. These results suggest that the negative effects of college loans on earnings, reported in previous studies, may have exaggerated the negative impact to some extent of having loans. However, when we look at the quality of jobs beyond simply wages, the proportion of borrowers working at large companies as regular workers was consistently low. Given that job conditions at the earlier stages of one’s career may lead to gaps over time, our findings call for more systematic investigations into the effects that student loans have on long-term labor performance.