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Labour Market Effects of Polytechnic Education Reform: The Finnish Experience


  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Hämäläinen, Ulla
  • Uusitalo, Roope


This paper evaluates the labour market effects of the introduction of the polytechnic education system in Finland. The reform transformed former vocational colleges gradually into polytechnics. Since the timing of the reform differed across schools, we can control for macroeconomic changes by comparing the performance of the polytechnic graduates to the performance of vocational college graduates who graduated at the same time, and to control for both time and the school fixed effects at the same time. We discover that both employment levels and earnings of post-reform graduates are significantly higher when compared to pre-reform graduates from the same schools. The effects of the polytechnic reform differ between the three largest fields. In the field of business and administration the effects from the reform have been overwhelmingly positive. This is in accordance with the fact that the polytechnic reform extended the length of education mostly in this field.

Suggested Citation

  • Böckerman, Petri & Hämäläinen, Ulla & Uusitalo, Roope, 2007. "Labour Market Effects of Polytechnic Education Reform: The Finnish Experience," MPRA Paper 4412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4412

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Pekkala, Sari & Uusitalo, Roope, 2006. "Educational policy and intergenerational income mobility: evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform," Working Paper Series 2006:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 1999. "Assessing the effect of schooling on earnings using a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W99/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Erkki Koskela & Roope Uusitalo, 2003. "The Un-Intended Convergence: How the Finnish Unemployment Reached the European Level," CESifo Working Paper Series 878, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-1286, December.
    5. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    6. Uusitalo, Roope, 1999. "Return to education in Finland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 569-580, November.
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    More about this item


    educational economics; human capital; salary wage differentials;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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