PostDoc20-01: High School Coursework and Financial Outcomes at Midlife



Many middle-aged adults face challenges in building and maintaining economic security at a time when they should be accumulating wealth to finance their retirements. An individual’s financial situation at midlife is the cumulative result of decisions and opportunities across the life course, which points to high school as a site for developing the skills people need to navigate their adult financial lives. This project uses longitudinal data from the High School and Beyond study to investigate how variation in the courses students took in high school is associated with financial conditions at age 50, including how these relationships vary across students and schools. This study aims to enrich understanding of the long-term effects of high school coursework on students’ financial outcomes, which is particularly important as education reforms increasingly emphasize the role of high schools in preparing students to navigate complex financial futures. This research can elucidate which types of curricular reforms are likely to have long-term impacts on financial outcomes – and how the effectiveness of curriculum may be shaped by student and school characteristics.

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