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The value of vocational education : high school type and labor market outcomes in Indonesia

  • Newhouse, David
  • Suryadarma, Daniel

This paper examines the relationship between the type of senior high school attended by Indonesian youth and their subsequent labor market outcomes. This topic is very timely, given the government’s recent decision to dramatically expand vocational enrollment. The analysis controls for an unusually rich set of predetermined characteristics, and exploits longitudinal data spanning 14 years to separately identify cohort and age effects. There are four main findings. First, students are sorted into different school types largely on the basis of their entering exam score. Public schools attract the highest-scoring students, while private vocational schools serve the lowest-scoring students. Second, after controlling for a variety of characteristics, including test scores, male public school graduates earn a substantial premium over their privately schooled counterparts. Third, private vocational school graduates fare at least as well as private general graduates, despite coming from more disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Finally, the returns to public vocational education have declined sharply for the most recent cohort of men. This raises important concerns about the current expansion of public vocational education, and the relevance of the male vocational curriculum in an increasingly service-oriented economy.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5035.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5035
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  1. Tobias, Justin, 2001. "Are Returns to Schooling Concentrated Among the Most Able? A Semiparametric Analysis of the Ability-Earnings Relationships," Staff General Research Papers 12016, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2008. "General Education vs. Vocational Training: Evidence from an Economy in Transition," Working Papers 0807, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  3. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  4. Michael Lechner, 2000. "An Evaluation of Public-Sector-Sponsored Continuous Vocational Training Programs in East Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 347-375.
  5. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2001. "Identifying The Role Of Cognitive Ability In Explaining The Level Of And Change In The Return To Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 1-12, February.
  6. Kahyarara, Godius & Teal, Francis, 2008. "The Returns to Vocational Training and Academic Education: Evidence from Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2223-2242, November.
  7. David Newhouse & Kathleen Beegle, 2006. "The Effect of School Type on Academic Achievement: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  8. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
  9. Paul Bennell, 1996. "General versus vocational secondary education in developing countries: A review of the rates of return evidence," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 230-247.
  10. Francis Teal & Godius Kahyarara, 2008. "The returns to vocational training and academic education: Evidence from Tanzania," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. Moenjak, Thammarak & Worswick, Christopher, 2003. "Vocational education in Thailand: a study of choice and returns," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 99-107, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Neuman, Shoshana & Ziderman, Adrian, 1991. "Vocational schooling, occupational matching, and labor market earnings in Israel," Policy Research Working Paper Series 683, The World Bank.
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