Saturday, September 24, 2011

Homework and hope

My friend and Harvard educated business mastermind, Brant Bryan sent me this "stat of the day" from the Harvard Business Review.  I find it most interesting.

Students Do Less Homework When the Jobless Rate Rises

An uptick in the jobless rate from 5% to 6% decreases the amount of time high-school students choose to spend on homework by about 19 minutes per week, says Steven McMullen of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That's because a higher unemployment rate diminishes expected labor-market returns, thus reducing the value of human-capital investment. For similar reasons, a $1 rise in the minimum wage in a state increases students' homework time by about 21 minutes per week, McMullen says.

Source: How do Students Respond to Labor Market and Education Incentives? An Analysis of Homework Time


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you like to see the real research behind this pseudo social science revelation?

Anonymous said...

Wow! And who would have thought teenagers were even paying attention.

Steven McMullen said...

The Harvard Business Review post links to the study - you can judge for yourself whether it is pseudo social science.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it does, Steven, and here is a nifty finding left out of Larry's summary:

"These responses are not constant throughout the population: female students, low income students, and low achieving students in particular increase their homework time in response to a higher minimum wage, while male students are more responsive to changes in the unemployment rate."

So gender is an intervening variable. How can we twist these facts to make men look bad? Any ideas, Belittle?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:32:

I'm sure you'll manage if twisting is what you're after, and it does seem to be the aim of many commenting here.

Steven McMullen said...

Indeed, I would have preferred the HBR folks had included a more nuanced description of my results. Income, gender and academic performance all matter when we discuss these relationships. I would not assume that anyone is intentionally twisting results though.