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Trends in the Payoff to Academic and Occupation-Specific Skills: The Short and Midium Run Returns to Academic and Vocational High School Courses for Non-College Bound Students

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  • Mane, F.

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mane, F., 1998. "Trends in the Payoff to Academic and Occupation-Specific Skills: The Short and Midium Run Returns to Academic and Vocational High School Courses for Non-College Bound Students," Papers 98-07, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:corirl:98-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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, Center for Labor Studies 2013:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Roberto Agodini & Stacey Uhl & Timothy Novak, "undated". "Factors That Influence Participation in Secondary Vocational Education," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 21babbf50dbf4e38b83bf7100, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. Heijke, Hans & Meng, Christoph & Ris, Catherine, 2003. "Fitting to the job: the role of generic and vocational competencies in adjustment and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 215-229, April.
    4. Bart H. H. Golsteyn & Anders Stenberg, 2017. "Earnings over the Life Course: General versus Vocational Education," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(2), pages 167-212.
    5. 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.
    6. Werner Eichhorst, 2015. "Does vocational training help young people find a (good) job?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 112-112, January.
    7. 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).
    8. Daniel Kreisman & Kevin Stange, 2017. "Vocational and Career Tech Education in American High Schools: The Value of Depth Over Breadth," NBER Working Papers 23851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Heijke, J.A.M. & Meng, C.M. & Ramaekers, G.W.M., 2002. "An investigation into the role of human capital competences and their pay-off," ROA Research Memorandum 3E, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    10. Hall, Caroline, 2016. "Does more general education reduce the risk of future unemployment? Evidence from an expansion of vocational upper secondary education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 251-271.
    11. Verhaest, Dieter & Baert, Stijn, 2015. "The Early Labour Market Effects of Generally and Vocationally Oriented Higher Education: Is There a Trade-off?," IZA Discussion Papers 9137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. 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).
    13. Tyler, John H., 2004. "Basic skills and the earnings of dropouts," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 221-235, June.
    14. repec:mpr:mprres:3148 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Natalia Shmatko, 2012. "Competences of Engineers. Evidence from a Comparative Study for Russia and EU Countries," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 6(4), pages 32-47.
    16. repec:bla:intlab:v:156:y:2017:i:1:p:25-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. 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.
    18. Martin HUMBURG & Andries de GRIP & Rolf van der VELDEN, 2017. "Which skills protect graduates against a slack labour market?," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 156(1), pages 25-43, March.
    19. Torun, Huzeyfe & Tumen, Semih, 2017. "Do Vocational High School Graduates Have Better Employment Outcomes than General High School Graduates?," IZA Discussion Papers 10507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.
    23. Meer, Jonathan, 2007. "Evidence on the returns to secondary vocational education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 559-573, October.
    24. Werner Eichhorst & Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Ricarda Schmidl & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2015. "A Road Map to Vocational Education and Training in Industrialized Countries," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(2), pages 314-337, March.
    25. Tyler, John H., 2004. "Basic skills and the earnings of dropouts," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 221-235, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    EDUCATION;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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