Profitability of Vocational vs. Formal Education for Men and Women in Singapore Using Quantile Regressions
Singapore is among the countries who have well-developed vocational education and training programs. It follows a centralized planning model in which the needs of industry and business are closely matched to the output of the education system. This study examines the pattern of returns to formal vs. vocational education across quantiles. It is hypothesized that heterogeneity in “abilities” which contribute to higher earnings is related to schooling acquisition. It is found that marginal returns to formal education for both men and women as well as to vocational education for women in Singapore are higher for the more able, consistent with the notion that formal education and ability are compliments. Furthermore, women with secondary and post-secondary vocational qualifications enjoy higher wage increments than men with the same qualifications. On the other hand, men with polytechnic diplomas enjoy higher wage increments than women with the same qualifications. Overall, the results suggest that the vocational education system in Singapore has served women as well as men with secondary and post-secondary qualifications well.
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