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More skilled, better paid: labour-market returns to postsecondary vocational education


  • Petri Böckerman
  • Mika Haapanen
  • Christopher Jepsen


Outside the USA, relatively little is known about the labour-market returns to postsecondary vocational (or polytechnic) education. Yet, polytechnics in Europe are distinct from US community colleges. This paper focuses on the labour-market returns to polytechnic attendance in Finland, where polytechnics are representative of many European countries. Using matching methods and longitudinal administrative data, we find that, compared to individuals with no postsecondary education, students who attend polytechnics have higher annual earnings of €3,300 to €3,700 and employment gains of 2.5 to 6.6 percentage points 10 years after the entry decision. However, the returns vary by personal characteristics and field of study.

Suggested Citation

  • Petri Böckerman & Mika Haapanen & Christopher Jepsen, 2018. "More skilled, better paid: labour-market returns to postsecondary vocational education," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 485-508.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:70:y:2018:i:2:p:485-508.

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    Cited by:

    1. Petri Böckerman & Mika Haapanen & Christopher Jepsen, 2018. "Labor-Market Returns to Higher Vocational Schooling," CESifo Working Paper Series 7197, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education


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