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The long-term earnings consequences of general vs. specific training of the unemployed

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  • Stenberg, Anders

    (Stockholm University)

  • Westerlund, Olle

    (Umeå University)

Abstract

Training programs for the unemployed typically involve teaching a specific skill to ease the transition into employment. However, in 1997, the Swedish unemployed could choose general/theoretical training through enrollment in one year of full-time studies at the upper secondary school level. This study provides an empirical assessment of the relative earnings impact of general vs. specific training 13 years post-enrollment. In the long term, general training may compensate for the short-term relative earnings loss by enhancing the ability to adapt to changes in demand for skills. The analyses are based on population register data 1990-2010 and an unusually rich set of control variables. The results indicate that both programs are associated with earnings increases. Our relative program estimates reveal a short-term advantage of specific training that converges within 5-7 years. With a longer perspective, there is considerable heterogeneity in the relative earnings estimates. For females with short educations, the earnings increases following general training substantially exceed those following specific training.

Suggested Citation

  • Stenberg, Anders & Westerlund, Olle, 2014. "The long-term earnings consequences of general vs. specific training of the unemployed," Working Paper Series 2014:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2014_003
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    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann & Lei Zhang, 2017. "General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(1), pages 48-87.
    4. Huzeyfe Torun & Semih Tumen, 2019. "Do vocational high school graduates have better employment outcomes than general high school graduates?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1364-1388, November.
    5. 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.
    6. Anders Stenberg & Olle Westerlund, 2015. "The long-term earnings consequences of general vs. specific training of the unemployed," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, December.
    7. Kelly, Elish & McGuinness, Seamus & Redmond, Paul & Savage, Michael & Walsh, John R., 2019. "An initial evaluation of the effectiveness of Intreo activation reforms," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS81.
    8. Franziska Hampf & Ludger Woessmann, 2017. "Vocational vs. General Education and Employment over the Life Cycle: New Evidence from PIAAC," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(3), pages 255-269.
    9. Makó, Ágnes, 2019. "A közismereti tudás és az elkötelezettség hatása a szakiskolát végzettek munkaerőpiaci esélyeire [General knowledge and commitment as factors in the labour-market chances of those completing vocati," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 434-458.
    10. Ollikainen, Jani-Petteri, 2021. "Comprehensive school reform and labor market outcomes over the lifecycle: Evidence from Finland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Amanda Chuan & Christian Lyhne Ibsen, 2022. "Skills for the Future? A Life Cycle Perspective on Systems of Vocational Education and Training," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 75(3), pages 638-664, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Active labor market programs; adult education; vocational training; general training;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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