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Vocational vs. General Education and Employment over the Life Cycle: New Evidence from PIAAC

It has been argued that vocational education facilitates the school-to-work transition but reduces later adaptability to changing environments. Using the recent international data of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), we confirm such a trade-off over the life cycle in a difference-in-differences model that compares employment rates across education type and age. An initial employment advantage of individuals with vocational compared to general education turns into a disadvantage later in life. Results are strongest in apprenticeship countries that provide the highest intensity of industry-based vocational education.

 

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