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Modeling Completion of Vocational Education: The Role of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills by Program Type


  • Stratton Leslie S.

    () (Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Economics, 301 W. Main Street, Box 844000, Richmond, VA 23284-4000, USA; IZA,Germany; LCC, Australia)

  • Datta Gupta Nabanita

    () (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4, Building 2621, Office B-05, 8210Aarhus V, Denmark)

  • Reimer David

    () (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Jens Chr. Skous vej 4, 8000Aarhus C, Denmark)

  • Holm Anders

    () (Department of Sociology, The University of Western Ontario, Room 5327, Social Science Center, London, OntarioN6A 5C2, Canada)


This study provides evidence of the importance of cognitive and noncognitive skills to completion of three types of vocational training (VET): education and health, technical, and business. Math and language exam scores constitute the key measures of cognitive skills; teacher-assigned grades the key measure of noncognitive skills. The data consist of two 9-year panels of youth completing compulsory education in Denmark. Estimation of completion proceeds separately by gender and VET type, controlling for selection and right censoring. The authors find that all skills are inversely related to VET enrollment, even controlling for family-specific effects. Estimates for completion vary considerably by program type, demonstrating the methodological importance of distinguishing among different VET courses. Math scores are positively related to certification for all VET tracks, though with very different magnitudes; language skills are inversely related for the nonbusiness tracks; and noncognitive skills appear important primarily for the business track.

Suggested Citation

  • Stratton Leslie S. & Datta Gupta Nabanita & Reimer David & Holm Anders, 2018. "Modeling Completion of Vocational Education: The Role of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills by Program Type," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(4), pages 1-17, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:18:y:2018:i:4:p:17:n:4
    DOI: 10.1515/bejeap-2017-0173

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    Cited by:

    1. Celeste K. Carruthers & Christopher Jepsen, 2020. "Vocational Education: An International Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 8718, CESifo.

    More about this item


    vocational education; enrollment; completion; vocational certification; ability;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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