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The Labour Market Effects of Academic and Vocational Education over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Two British Cohorts

Author

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  • Brunello, Giorgio

    (University of Padova)

  • Rocco, Lorenzo

    (University of Padova)

Abstract

Several commentators have argued that vocational education provides a smoother school to work transition than academic education. In the long - run, however, the skills it provides depreciate faster and individuals with this type of education are less capable of adapting to technical change. Because of this, its short – term advantages trade off with expected long-term disadvantages in terms of employment, wages or both. Using two UK cohort studies, that allow us to follow individuals for at least 16 years in the labour market, we investigate whether this view has empirical support. For employment, our results indicate that the initial advantage associated to vocational education declines over time, without turning however into a disadvantage at later ages. For real net wages, the picture is more nuanced, with results that vary by cohort and educational level. Overall, our evidence suggests that vocational education is associated to lower expected long-term utility only for the younger cohort with higher (post-secondary) education. We further distinguish between dominant and non-dominant vocational education to account for the different bundles of skills held by individuals, and find that those with a more balanced bundle tend to have higher expected long-term earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunello, Giorgio & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2015. "The Labour Market Effects of Academic and Vocational Education over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Two British Cohorts," IZA Discussion Papers 9275, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9275
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Maïlys Korber, 2019. "Does Vocational Education Give a Labour Market Advantage over the Whole Career? A Comparison of the United Kingdom and Switzerland," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 7(3), pages 202-223.
    3. Hector Espinoza & Stefan Speckesser, 2019. "A Comparison of Earnings Related to Higher Level Vocational/Technical and Academic Education," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 502, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    4. Allen, James & Massing, Natascha & Schneider, Silke & van der Velden, Rolf, 2017. "Proposal for the revision of the Background Questionnaire on education and training for the 2nd cycle of PIAAC," ROA Technical Report 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    5. Eric A. Hanushek, 2017. "Education and the Growth-Equity Trade-Off," NBER Chapters, in: Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future US GDP Growth, pages 293-312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hector Espinoza & Stefan Speckesser, 2019. "A comparison of earnings related to higher level vocational/technical and academic education," CVER Research Papers 019, Centre for Vocational Education Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    academic education; vocational; UK;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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