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Skill Transferability, Regret and Mobility

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  • Borghans, Lex

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H.

    () (Maastricht University)

Abstract

After graduation many students start working in sectors not related to their field of study or participate in training targeted at work in other sectors. In this paper, we look at mobility immediately after graduation from the perspective that educational choices have been made when these pupils had little experience of the actual working life in these professions. We develop a model where students accumulate partially transferable human capital but also learn about their professional preferences at the university and during the first years in the labor market. As a consequence of this newly acquired insight, these young workers might realize that working in another occupational field would better fit their preferences, although they are better equipped to work in their own field. The empirical analysis reveals that if wages are 1% lower due to lower skill transferability, the probability that a graduate who regrets his choice actually switches decreases by 2.2 percentage points, while those who switch on average take 0.3 months additional education.

Suggested Citation

  • Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H., 2006. "Skill Transferability, Regret and Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 2021, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. "Bart, Don't Make Fun of Grad. Students, They Just Made a Terrible Life Choice"
      by Martin Ryan in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-03-18 22:50:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Verbruggen, M. & van Emmerik, H. & van Gils, A.E.J. & Meng, C.M. & de Grip, A., 2015. "Does early-career underemployment impact future career success? A path dependency perspective," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    2. Adela Garcia-Aracil, 2014. "Are graduates well-equipped for the labour market?," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 9,in: Adela García Aracil & Isabel Neira Gómez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 9, edition 1, volume 9, chapter 42, pages 817-829 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    3. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    4. John Robst & Jennifer VanGilder, 2011. "The role of childhood sexual victimization in the occupational choice of adults," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 341-354.
    5. Aleksander Kucel & Montserrat Vilalta-Bufi, 2012. "Why do university graduates regret their study program? A comparison between Spain and the Netherlands," Working Papers in Economics 279, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    6. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Stenberg, Anders, 2013. "Does Expert Advice Improve Educational Choice?," IZA Discussion Papers 7649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    skill transfer; training; regret; mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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