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General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Life-Cycle

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  • Wößmann, Ludger
  • Hanushek, Eric A.
  • Zhang, Lei

Abstract

Policy debates about the balance of vocational and general education programs focus on the school-to-work transition. But with rapid technological change, gains in youth employment from vocational education may be offset by less adaptability and thus diminished employment later in life. To test our main hypothesis that any relative labor-market advantage of vocational education decreases with age, we employ a difference-in-differences approach that compares employment rates across different ages for people with general and vocational education. Using micro data for 18 countries from the International Adult Literacy Survey, we find strong support for the existence of such a trade-off, which is most pronounced in countries emphasizing apprenticeship programs. Results are robust to accounting for ability patterns and to propensity-score matching.

Suggested Citation

  • Wößmann, Ludger & Hanushek, Eric A. & Zhang, Lei, 2012. "General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Life-Cycle," VfS Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62070, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:62070
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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