Economic and Social Determinants of the Educational, Occupational, and Residential Choices of Young Adults

The William T. Grant Scholars Program supports promising early-career researchers from diverse disciplines, who have demonstrated success in conducting high-quality research and are seeking to further develop and broaden their expertise. Selected as a 2010-11 Scholar, Dr. Elizabeth Ananat received funding from the W.T. Grant Foundation for this research.

This project aims to add developmental insights to causal modeling of the educational attainment of American youths. It will follow several million students in North Carolina public schools over time, from third grade until when they leave school, charting the process of disengagement from school that culminates in school-leaving (measured by enrollment in college preparatory vs. vocational coursework, rates of school absences, and disciplinary actions, as well as eventual dropout). The project will focus on the contexts these youths are in over time, including: the curriculum, the teachers in their classrooms and their peers in the classroom; the neighborhoods they live in and rich information about those neighborhoods; and the local economic and policy context. The research will identify changes in those contexts and identify how such changes affect students’ engagement with school. The goal of the project is to put together a more complete picture of how and why youths elect to drop out of school in the United States.