IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: The effect of decreased general training on skills, education and employment

24 February 2021, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

A builder measuring out the gap between two beams. Image: Callum Hill via Unsplash

This presentation examines the effect of a vocational education reform in Hungary on the skills, dropout, graduation probability and early labour market outcomes of students.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Pierre Walthery

In 2013, the length of vocational education in Hungary decreased from four to three years. The overall teaching time for general education (math, literature, history, science etc.) went down by approximately one year, while the time dedicated to vocational training remained unchanged.

The aim of the reform was to decrease early school leaving. Vocational schools had the option to provide three years long education already before the reform.

The research presented relies on a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the causal effects of the reform. The analysis is built on a novel administrative panel dataset covering 50% of the Hungarian population.

Results show that:

  1. math and reading test scores have decreased considerably after the reform
  2. the dropout rate has decreased significantly, while the graduation rate increased slightly in the observed period
  3. employment probability of graduates has decreased for men.

Results 1 and 2 are consistent with the literature on the trade-off between long run advantages of general education and short run benefits of more vocationally oriented education. However, result 3 suggests that weaker general skills may have negative effects on labour market outcomes on the short run, as well. 

QSS seminar series

In this weekly Quantitative Social Science (QSS) seminar series, speakers present research that falls under the broad umbrella of quantitative social science.


  • Zoltán Hermann, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies (KRTK) at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Corvinus University of Budapest


Image: Callum Hill via Unsplash