Assistant Professor in the Harris School of Public Policy, The University of Chicago
This paper evaluates the impact of two alternative approaches to general education on later unemployment. I construct a 16 year longitudinal panel of university-bound students from English high schools between 1974 and 1989 using administrative data from university rosters. Exploiting the variation in curriculum breadth and course offerings in "General Studies" across cohorts within schools, I find that greater curriculum breadth in high school is associated with a lower probability of being unemployed after leaving university. I find no corresponding effect of taking a course that is intended to provide general skills. These findings suggest that studying a broader range of specific subjects may help students insure against the risk of unemployment.