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A Note on Educational Attainment and Labour Force Participation in Australia


  • Steven Kennedy

    (Treasury, Government of Australia)

  • David Hedley

    (Treasury, Government of Australia)


This note examines trends in labour force participation for people with different levels of educational attainment. The note offers insights into the labour market behaviour of people with different skill attributes and discusses the possible implications of a more highly educated workforce. Using census data, we find that while the labour force participation rates of prime age males have fallen for all educational attainment groups between 1981 and 2001, the fall for those males with no post-school qualifications was particularly dramatic. In contrast, female participation rose for all educational attainment categories and for most age groups, though at a slower rate in the 1990s than in the 1980s.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Kennedy & David Hedley, 2003. "A Note on Educational Attainment and Labour Force Participation in Australia," Treasury Working Papers 2003-03, The Treasury, Australian Government, revised Nov 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:tsy:wpaper:wpaper_tsy_wp_2003_3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Guy Debelle & Troy Swann, 1998. "Stylised Facts of the Australian Labour Market," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9804, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Earnings Inequality in Australia: Changes, Causes and Consequences," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(229), pages 177-202, June.
    3. David Gruen & Matthew Garbutt, 2003. "The Output Implications of Higher Labour Force Participation," Treasury Working Papers 2003-02, The Treasury, Australian Government, revised Oct 2003.
    4. James Vickery, 1999. "Unemployment and Skills in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp1999-12, Reserve Bank of Australia.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manoj K Pandey, 2009. "Labor Force Participation among Indian Elderly: Does Health Matter?," Working Papers id:1987, eSocialSciences.
    2. Steven Kennedy & Alicia Da Costa, 2006. "Older men bounce back: the re-emergence of older male workers," Economic Roundup, The Treasury, Australian Government, issue 4, pages 31-43, November.

    More about this item


    educational attainment; skills; labour force participation;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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