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Trends in the payoff to academic and occupation-specific skills: the short and medium run returns to academic and vocational high school courses for non-college-bound students

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  • Mane, Ferran

Abstract

Using data from three longitudinal surveys of American high school students, I show that vocational courses helped non-college-bound-students to start their work life more successfully, in terms of steadier employment, higher wages and higher earnings. A comparison of the returns to academic and vocational course work for non-college bound students who graduated in 1972, 1980 and 1992 finds that the short and medium term payoffs to vocational courses rose substantially between 1972 and 1980 and remained high in 1992. Holding past and present school attendance and a host of other variables constant, academic course work in high school had much smaller labor market payoffs than vocational course work. These findings contradict the oft repeated claim that employers now seek workers with a good general education and are happy to teach the occupation specific skills necessary to do the job. Instead, they imply that the payoff to the occupation specific skills developed in schools has risen along with the payoff to generic academic skills.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 18 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 417-437

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:18:y:1999:i:4:p:417-437

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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References

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  1. Kang, Suk & Bishop, John, 1989. "Vocational and academic education in high school: Complements or substitutes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 133-148, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Humburg Martin & Grip Andries de & Velden Rolf van der, 2012. "Which skills protect graduates against a slack labour market?," Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  2. Heijke,Hans & Meng,Christoph & Ramaekers,Ger, 2003. "An investigation into the role of human capital competences and their pay-off," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  3. Meer, Jonathan, 2007. "Evidence on the returns to secondary vocational education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 559-573, October.
  4. Heijke Hans & Meng Christoph, 2007. "Discipline-specific and academic competencies of the higher educated: their value in the labour market and their acquisition in education," ROA Working Paper 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  5. Roberto Agodini & Stacey Uhl & Timothy Novak, 2004. "Factors That Influence Participation In Secondary Vocational Education," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3148, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. Tyler, John H., 2004. "Basic skills and the earnings of dropouts," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 221-235, June.
  7. Miller, Luke C. & Mittleman, Joel, 2012. "High Schools That Work and college preparedness: Measuring the model's impact on mathematics and science pipeline progression," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1116-1135.
  8. Hall, Caroline, 2013. "Does more general education reduce the risk of future unemployment? Evidence from labor market experiences during the Great Recession," Working Paper Series 2013:17, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Natalia Shmatko, 2013. "Graduates’ Competencies For The Innovation Labour Market," HSE Working papers WP BRP 13/STI/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  10. Eichhorst, Werner & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Schmidl, Ricarda & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "A Roadmap to Vocational Education and Training Systems Around the World," IZA Discussion Papers 7110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Mañé Vernet, Ferran & Miravet, Daniel, 2010. "An investigation on the pay-off to generic competences for core employees in Catalan manufacturing firms," Working Papers 2072/179595, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  12. Biesma, R.G. & Pavlova, M. & van Merode, G.G. & Groot, W., 2007. "Using conjoint analysis to estimate employers preferences for key competencies of master level Dutch graduates entering the public health field," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 375-386, June.
  13. Dario Pozzoli, 2007. "High Schools and Labour Market Outcomes: Italian Graduates," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(2), pages 247-294, July.
  14. Verhaest, Dieter & Omey, Eddy, 2009. "The relation between formal education and skill acquisition in young workers first job," Working Papers 2009/07, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.

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