An international debate over student employment turns on the question of whether work generally helps or harms children's development. This article focuses on two indicators of child development that are goals in all education systems: math and science achievement. After reviewing the major theoretical perspectives on school achievement and employment, we propose a general framework for analyzing their relationship. We then present the results of our cross-national study. From the U.S., we use cross-sectional and longitudinal NELS data. In the U.S. and in 22 other nations, we use cross-sectional TIMSS data to examine the effects of after-school work during the eighth grade. Our findings from each investigation are consistent: For boys, and to a lesser extent for girls, there are negative effects on math and science achievement that are associated with adolescent employment, even after controlling for family background and, in the NELS, after controlling for prior achievement.
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