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The Relative Returns to Education, Experience, and Attractiveness for Young Workers

Author

Listed:
  • Beam, Emily A.

    () (University of Vermont)

  • Hyman, Joshua

    () (University of Connecticut)

  • Theoharides, Caroline

    () (Amherst College)

Abstract

Understanding employer preferences for characteristics of young workers is crucial to designing effective policies to reduce youth unemployment in developing countries. We conduct a randomized resume audit study, simultaneously examining the returns to education, experience, and physical attractiveness among young workers applying for entry-level jobs in a developing country context. Employers do not value college experience without a degree. Postsecondary vocational training increases the likelihood of a callback, but only for blue-collar occupations typically offered only to male workers. Work experience is valued across most occupations; however, among service-sector jobs with in-person customer interactions, attractive applicants receive 23 percent more callbacks, swamping the returns to experience. Our results can guide policymakers in the design of labor market programs to reduce youth unemployment as well as help young workers make optimal choices to ease their school-to-work transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Beam, Emily A. & Hyman, Joshua & Theoharides, Caroline, 2017. "The Relative Returns to Education, Experience, and Attractiveness for Young Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 10537, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10537
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bedi, Arjun S. & Majilla, Tanmoy & Rieger, Matthias, 2018. "Gender Norms and the Motherhood Penalty: Experimental Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 11360, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to education; school-to-work transition; audit study; labor demand; returns to experience; attractiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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