The Relative Returns to Education, Experience, and Attractiveness for Young Workers

43 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2017

See all articles by Emily Beam

Emily Beam

National University of Singapore (NUS) - NUS Business School

Joshua Hyman

University of Connecticut - Department of Public Policy; University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education; University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Caroline Barclay Theoharides

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Abstract

Understanding employer preferences for characteristics of young workers is crucial to designing effective policies to reduce youth unemployment in developing countries. We conduct a randomized resume audit study, simultaneously examining the returns to education, experience, and physical attractiveness among young workers applying for entry-level jobs in a developing country context. Employers do not value college experience without a degree. Postsecondary vocational training increases the likelihood of a callback, but only for blue-collar occupations typically offered only to male workers. Work experience is valued across most occupations; however, among service-sector jobs with in-person customer interactions, attractive applicants receive 23 percent more callbacks, swamping the returns to experience. Our results can guide policymakers in the design of labor market programs to reduce youth unemployment as well as help young workers make optimal choices to ease their school-to-work transition.

Keywords: returns to education, school-to-work transition, audit study, labor demand, returns to experience, attractiveness

JEL Classification: J23, J24, J70, C93

Suggested Citation

Beam, Emily and Hyman, Joshua and Theoharides, Caroline Barclay, The Relative Returns to Education, Experience, and Attractiveness for Young Workers. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10537, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2911475

Emily Beam (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - NUS Business School ( email )

1 Business Link
Singapore, 117592
Singapore

Joshua Hyman

University of Connecticut - Department of Public Policy ( email )

1800 Asylum Ave.
Library Building, 4th Floor
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States

University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education ( email )

CT
United States

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

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Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Caroline Barclay Theoharides

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

701 Tappan St. Rm E2600
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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