Can vocational education improve schooling and labour outcomes? Evidence from a large expansion

We evaluate the education and labour impact of vocational education and training (VET). Identification draws on a reform to reduce early school leaving, which involved a large-scale, staggered introduction of VET courses. Drawing on comprehensive student-school matched panel data, we find that VET increased upper secondary graduation rates considerably: our LATE estimates are as large as 50 percentage points. These effects are even stronger for low-achieving students and welfare recipients; and also hold when exploiting the large gender differences of VET, with many courses selected almost only by either boys or girls. Moreover, we find evidence of regional youth employment growth and VET wage premiums following VET expansion.

Author: João R. Ferreira, Pedro S, Martins
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Number of pages: 66
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