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The Consequences of Being Different - Statistical Discrimination and the School-to-Work Transition


  • Barbara Mueller
  • Stefan C. Wolter


When information about the true abilities of job-seekers and applicants are hard to get, statistical discrimination by employers can be an efficient strategy in the hiring and wage setting process. But statistical discrimination can induce costs, if labor relations cannot be terminated in the short term and wages are fixed over a certain period. In this paper we use a unique longitudinal survey that follows the PISA 2000 students in their educational and work-life career. We test whether deviance in the PISA test scores from what one would have predicted based on observable characteristics, influences the probability to succeed in the transition from compulsory school into a firm-based apprenticeship and whether it can explain differences of the individual performances during training. Our results suggest that hard-to-get information plays a significant role in the transition, but not always in a symmetric manner.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara Mueller & Stefan C. Wolter, 2011. "The Consequences of Being Different - Statistical Discrimination and the School-to-Work Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 3345, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3345

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Galindo-Rueda, Fernando, 2003. "Employer Learning and Schooling-Related Statistical Discrimination in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 82, Royal Economic Society.
    2. Wolter, Stefan C. & Ryan, Paul, 2011. "Apprenticeship," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    3. Bauer, Thomas K. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2001. "Employer learning and the returns to schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 161-180, May.
    4. Samuel Muehlemann & Juerg Schweri & Rainer Winkelmann & Stefan C. Wolter, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of the Decision to Train Apprentices," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(3), pages 419-441, September.
    5. Brunello, Giorgio, 2009. "The Effect of Economic Downturns on Apprenticeships and Initial Workplace Training: A Review of the Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 4326, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kathrin Bertschy & M. Alejandra Cattaneo & Stefan C. Wolter, 2009. "PISA and the Transition into the Labour Market," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(s1), pages 111-137, March.
    7. Mühlemann, Samuel & Wolter, Stefan C. & Wüest, Adrian, 2009. "Apprenticeship Training and the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 4460, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Bassanini, Andrea & Booth, Alison L. & Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria & Leuven, Edwin, 2005. "Workplace Training in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2015. "Wissenschaftlicher Fortschritt in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften: Einige Bemerkungen," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 135(2), pages 209-248.

    More about this item


    statistical discrimination; school-to-work transition; PISA;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing


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