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General Education vs. Vocational Training: Evidence from an Economy in Transition

  • Ofer Malamud
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches

This paper examines the relative benefits of general education and vocational training in Romania, a country which experienced major technological and institutional change during its transition from Communism to a market economy. To avoid the bias caused by non-random selection, we exploit a 1973 educational reform that shifted a large proportion of students from vocational training to general education while keeping average years of schooling unchanged. Using data from the 1992 and 2002 Romanian Censuses and household surveys from 1995-2000, we analyze the effect of this policy with a regression discontinuity design. We find that men in cohorts affected by the policy were significantly less likely to work in manual or craft-related occupations than their counterparts who were unaffected by the policy. However, in contrast to cross-sectional findings, we find no difference in labor market participation or earnings between cohorts affected and unaffected by the policy. We therefore conclude that differences in labor market returns between graduates of vocational and general schools are largely driven by selection.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14155.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Publication status: published as General Education vs. Vocational Training: Evidence from an Economy in Transition (with Cristian Pop-Eleches) Data Appendix Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 92, No. 1 (2010): 43-60
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14155
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  9. Krueger, Dirk & Kumar, Krishna B., 2004. "US-Europe differences in technology-driven growth: quantifying the role of education," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 161-190, January.
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  12. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
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  14. John S. Earle, 1997. "Industrial Decline and Labor Reallocation in Romania," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 118, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  15. Dirk Krueger & Krishna B. Kumar, 2003. "Skill-specific rather then General Education: A Reason for US-Europe Growth Differences?," NBER Working Papers 9408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Daniel Münich & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 2005. "Returns to Human Capital Under The Communist Wage Grid and During the Transition to a Market Economy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 100-123, February.
  17. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  18. Earle, John S. & Pauna, Catalin, 1996. "Incidence and duration of unemployment in Romania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 829-837, April.
  19. Brainerd, Elizabeth, 1998. "Winners and Losers in Russia's Economic Transition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1094-1116, December.
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  22. Shoshana Neuman & Adrian Ziderman, 1991. "Vocational Schooling, Occupational Matching, and Labor Market Earnings in Israel," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 256-281.
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