China and World Economy
The high level of dropout from junior high school is one of the most serious challenges facing the human capital development of the next generation of workers in China's rural areas. The goal of this paper is to assess to what extent the educational expectations of students are correlated with dropout behavior at the junior high school level in China. Using panel data, this research finds that the cumulative dropout rate is high among grade 7 and 8 students within our sample (as high as 19.5 percent, which implies a 3-year dropout rate of around 25 percent). Importantly, we find that this high rate of dropout is significantly correlated with students' educational expectations. Specifically, students who reported their expected level of education is “less than high school” or “less than college” are five times and four times more likely to drop out during junior high school than their peers, respectively.