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The Determinants of Undertaking Academic and Vocational Qualifications in the United Kingdom


  • Gavan Conlon


There is a vast body of research that has focused on the determinants of qualification attainment and staying on in post-compulsory education Generally, those with a higher measure of innate ability are more likely to undertake additional qualifications or remain in full-time education than those with lower levels of measured ability. However, little research has specifically focused on the determinants of the type of qualification attained or questioned why a specific path of qualification attainment has been adopted in the first place. This paper illustrates the fact that innate ability does not determine the path of qualification attainment, especially at low levels of qualification. It is actually the case that combinations of regional, other personal and family characteristics are influential in the adoption of the academic or vocational route.

Suggested Citation

  • Gavan Conlon, 2005. "The Determinants of Undertaking Academic and Vocational Qualifications in the United Kingdom," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 299-313.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:13:y:2005:i:3:p:299-313 DOI: 10.1080/09645290500073787

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Derek Neal & Sherwin Rosen, 1998. "Theories of the Distribution of Labor Earnings," NBER Working Papers 6378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Derek Neal, 1998. "The Link between Ability and Specialization: An Explanation for Observed Correlations between Wages and Mobility Rates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 173-200.
    3. Mincer, Jacob, 1997. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings: Variations on a Theme," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 26-47, January.
    4. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-261, April.
    5. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    6. Rosen, Sherwin, 1976. "A Theory of Life Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 45-67, August.
    7. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Consequences of The Decline in Public Sector Pay in Britain: A Little Bit of Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages 107-118, February.
    8. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andy Dickerson & Steven McIntosh, 2013. "The Impact of Distance to Nearest Education Institution on the Post-compulsory Education Participation Decision," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 50(4), pages 742-758, March.
    2. Jean-Marc Falter & Giovanni Ferro Luzzi & Federica Sbergami, 2011. "The Effect of Parental Background on Track Choices and Wages," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(II), pages 157-180, June.


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