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Discipline-specific and academic competencies of the higher educated: their value in the labour market and their acquisition in education

  • Heijke Hans
  • Meng Christoph

    (ROA wp)

This paper summarizes the outlines of three empirical studies that we have carried out on actual labour market value of the various types of competencies acquired in higher education and how these competencies may be taught most effectively. The focus is on the discipline-specific competencies and academic competencies. In all three studies, use was made of the European CHEERS dataset. The main results with regard to the labour market value of the various competencies are that a high level of discipline-specific competencies provides graduates with a comparative advantage in jobs within their own professional domain, where they also earn more than outside this domain. Graduates who possess a high level of academic competencies, have a comparative advantage outside their own professional domain, where they may initially earn less than in their own domain. As they are more inclined to take part in training activities and are able to obtain the required competencies for a supervisory position more quickly, their salaries rise more quickly with time. With regard to the organization of the education process, we found that activating learning methods contribute effectively to both the acquisition of academic competencies and the acquisition of discipline-specific competencies. By combining these methods with a more prominent position for knowledge transfer by teachers, the acquired level of discipline-specific competencies can be increased without affecting the acquisition of academic competencies.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Working Paper with number 001.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umarow:2007001
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  1. David Romer, 1993. "Do Students Go to Class? Should They?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 167-174, Summer.
  2. Mane, Ferran, 1999. "Trends in the payoff to academic and occupation-specific skills: the short and medium run returns to academic and vocational high school courses for non-college-bound students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 417-437, October.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji, 1995. "The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 409-438.
  4. Heijke, Hans & Meng, Christoph & Ris, Catherine, 2003. "Fitting to the job: the role of generic and vocational competencies in adjustment and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 215-229, April.
  5. Heijke,Hans & Meng,Christoph & Ramaekers,Ger, 2003. "An investigation into the role of human capital competences and their pay-off," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  6. Peter Dolton & Oscar Marcenaro & Lucia Navarro, 2001. "The effective use of student time: A stochastic frontier production function case study," CEE Discussion Papers 0010, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  7. Bishop, J.H., 1995. "Vocational Education and At-Risk Youth in the United States," Papers 95-19, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
  8. Durden, Garey C & Ellis, Larry V, 1995. "The Effects of Attendance on Student Learning in Principles of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 343-46, May.
  9. Francis Green, 1998. "The Value of Skills," Studies in Economics 9819, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  10. Meng,Christoph & Heijke,Hans, 2005. "Student time allocation, the learning environment and the acquisition of competencies," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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