To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first study for Germany to assess the long-term impacts of studying without graduating on three labour market outcomes (working hours, wages, and occupational prestige), and on overall life satisfaction, on the basis of a sample of employed individuals from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) who possess a university entrance qualification. The impact is analyzed relative to individuals who have never been enrolled in university study (baseline group) and to individuals that have attained a university degree. The impacts are assessed by means of a double machine learning procedure that accounts for selection into the three educational paths and generates the counterfactual outcomes for the different paths. The findings indicate an average impact of studying without graduating of plus 5 percentage points on occupational prestige, and minus 2.8 percentage points on life satisfaction relative to the baseline group. The estimates for wages and working hours are not significant. The effects of graduating on all outcomes is positive and substantial relative to studying without graduating or not studying at all.


Arbeitsmarkt, Humankapitalforschung, Studienerfolg, Studium ohne Abschluss