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Why Do Low-Educated Workers Invest Less in Further Training?

  • Fouarge, Didier

    ()

    (ROA, Maastricht University)

  • Schils, Trudie

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

  • de Grip, Andries

    ()

    (ROA, Maastricht University)

Several studies document the fact that low-educated workers participate less often in further training than high-educated workers. The economic literature suggests that there is no significant difference in employer willingness to train low-educated workers, which leaves the question of why the low educated invest less in training unanswered. This paper investigates two possible explanations: Low-educated workers invest less in training because of 1) the lower economic returns to these investments or 2) their lower willingness to participate in training. Controlling for unobserved heterogeneity that can affect the probability of enrolling into training, we find that the economic returns to training for low-educated workers are positive and not significantly different from those for high-educated workers. However, low-educated workers are significantly less willing to participate in training. This lesser willingness to participate in training is driven by economic preferences (future orientation, preference for leisure), as well as personality traits (locus of control, exam anxiety, and openness to experience).

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5180.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Applied Economics, 2013, 45 (18), 2587-2601
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5180
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  1. Steedman, Hilary & McIntosh, Steven, 2001. "Measuring Low Skills in Europe: How Useful Is the ISCED Framework?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 564-81, July.
  2. Kenn Ariga & Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Are education and training always complements? Evidence from Thailand," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(4), pages 613-629, July.
  3. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  4. Barron, John M & Black, Dan A & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1989. "Job Matching and On-the-Job Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, January.
  5. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  6. Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2001. "Continuous training in Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2473, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Lynch, Lisa M, 1992. "Private-Sector Training and the Earnings of Young Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 299-312, March.
  8. Hill, Elizabeth T., 2001. "Post-school-age training among women: training methods and labor market outcomes at older ages," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 181-191, April.
  9. Sanders Jos & Grip Andries de, 2003. "Training, Task Flexibility and Low-Skilled Workers' Employability," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  10. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," JCPR Working Papers 154, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. Santiago Budria & Pedro Telhado Pereira, 2007. "The wage effects of training in Portugal: differences across skill groups, genders, sectors and training types," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 787-807.
  12. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2001. "Continuous training in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 523-548.
  13. Andrea Bassanini & Wooseok Ok, 2004. "How do firms' and individuals' incentives to invest in human capital vary across groups?," CEPN Working Papers halshs-00194344, HAL.
  14. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male and Female Earnings," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
  15. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2008. "An alternative approach to estimate the wage returns to private-sector training," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 423-434.
  17. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2004. "Evaluating the Effect of Tax Deductions on Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 461-488, April.
  19. Harley Frazis & Mark A. Loewenstein, 2005. "Reexamining the Returns to Training: Functional Form, Magnitude, and Interpretation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  20. 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).
  21. Thomas DeLeire & Margo Coleman, 2000. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Working Papers 0019, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  22. Merve Cebi, 2007. "Locus of Control and Human Capital Investment Revisited," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  23. van Smoorenburg, M. S. M. & van der Velden, R. K. W., 2000. "The training of school-leavers: Complementarity or substitution?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 207-217, April.
  24. James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," NBER Working Papers 13195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Killingsworth, Mark R, 1982. ""Learning by Doing" and "Investment in Training": A Synthesis of Two "Rival" Models of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 263-71, April.
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