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The Labour Market Effects of Academic and Vocational Education Over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Two British Cohorts

44 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015  

Giorgio Brunello

University of Padua - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Lorenzo Rocco

University of Padua; University of Toulouse I

Abstract

Several commentators have argued that vocational education provides a smoother school to work transition than academic education. In the long - run, however, the skills it provides depreciate faster and individuals with this type of education are less capable of adapting to technical change. Because of this, its short – term advantages trade off with expected long-term disadvantages in terms of employment, wages or both. Using two UK cohort studies, that allow us to follow individuals for at least 16 years in the labour market, we investigate whether this view has empirical support.For employment, our results indicate that the initial advantage associated to vocational education declines over time, without turning however into a disadvantage at later ages. For real net wages, the picture is more nuanced, with results that vary by cohort and educational level. Overall, our evidence suggests that vocational education is associated to lower expected long-term utility only for the younger cohort with higher (post-secondary) education. We further distinguish between dominant and non-dominant vocational education to account for the different bundles of skills held by individuals, and find that those with a more balanced bundle tend to have higher expected long-term earnings.

Keywords: vocational, academic education, UK

JEL Classification: J31

Suggested Citation

Brunello, Giorgio and Rocco, Lorenzo, The Labour Market Effects of Academic and Vocational Education Over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Two British Cohorts. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9275. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655315

Giorgio Brunello (Contact Author)

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
35121 Padova
Italy
+39 049 827 4223 (Phone)
+39 049 827 4221 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Lorenzo Rocco

University of Padua ( email )

Via 8 Febbraio, 2
Padova, Vicenza 35122
Italy

University of Toulouse I

Place Anatole France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

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