Panel Paper: The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School System

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 15 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Eric Brunner1, Shaun Dougherty2 and Stephen L. Ross1, (1)University of Connecticut, (2)Vanderbilt University

We examine the effect of admission to 16 stand-alone technical high schools within the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) on student educational and labor market outcomes. To identify the causal effect of admission on student outcomes, we exploit the fact that CTHSS utilizes a score-based admissions system and identify the effect of admission using a regression discontinuity approach. We find that male students attending one of the technical high schools are approximately 10 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school and 9 percentage points less likely to attend college. We also find that male students attending a technical high school have quarterly earnings that are approximately 28% higher. Analyses of potential mechanisms behind these results reveal that male students that attend a technical high school have higher 9th grade attendance rates and higher 10th grade math, reading and writing test scores. We find little evidence that attending a technical high school affects the educational or labor outcomes of women. Finally, heterogeneity analyses reveal most of the effect on high school graduation for men is concentrated on free lunch eligible students. In terms of labor market outcomes, the higher number of quarters worked appears concentrated among African-American and Hispanic students and students from central cities while quarterly earnings effects appear concentrated among White and Asian students and students not from central cities.