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The role of education in selection and allocation on the labour market; An empirical study in the medical field


  • Semeijn Judith
  • Velden Rrolf van der
  • Heijke Hans
  • Vleuten Cees van der
  • Boshuizen Els

    (ROA rm)


In this study, we explore the role of education in explaining the labour market outcomes for graduates in medicine. More specifically, we focus on the question: To what extent are labour market outcomes of physicians explained by the skills acquired in education, as argued in the theory of Human Capital, by competences already present at the start of education, as suggested by the Screening theory literature, or by having attained the medical degree as such, as suggested by the literature on Credentialism? The study uses separate measurements of competence at the start and at the end of academic education. These are grade point averages (GPA’s) of secondary school, available at the start of the first year of study, versus the final (medical) Skills test at the end of the study. Moreover, we use a direct measurement of competence development during medical education in the form of Progress Test results; the first Progress Test result in the first year, versus the final Progress Test result in the fourth year of study. This enables us to disentangle the effects of the three suggested mechanisms. The results suggest that after graduation the human capital factors available do not explain subsequent differences in labour market outcomes. The data therefore suggest evidence for Credentialism. However, selection processes during education and in the response to the labour market survey, take place on human capital acquired before and during education.

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  • Semeijn Judith & Velden Rrolf van der & Heijke Hans & Vleuten Cees van der & Boshuizen Els, 2004. "The role of education in selection and allocation on the labour market; An empirical study in the medical field," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2004002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
    2. James Thornton, 2000. "Physician choice of medical specialty: do economic incentives matter?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(11), pages 1419-1428.
    3. Gerard J. van den Berg & Anders Holm & Jan C. van Ours, 2002. "Do stepping-stone jobs exist? Early career paths in the medical profession," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 647-665.
    4. Gjerberg, Elisabeth, 2002. "Gender similarities in doctors' preferences -- and gender differences in final specialisation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 591-605, February.
    5. Cawley, John & Heckman, James & Vytlacil, Edward, 2001. "Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 419-442, September.
    6. Quinn, Robert & Price, Jamie, 1998. "The demand for medical education: an augmented human capital approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 337-347, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph J. Doyle, Jr. & Steven M. Ewer & Todd H. Wagner, 2008. "Returns to Physician Human Capital: Analyzing Patients Randomized to Physician Teams," NBER Working Papers 14174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Doyle Jr., Joseph J. & Ewer, Steven M. & Wagner, Todd H., 2010. "Returns to physician human capital: Evidence from patients randomized to physician teams," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 866-882, December.

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    labour market entry and occupational careers;

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