On track to success? Returns to Vocational Education against its alternatives
24 January 2024, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm
Join this event to hear Guglielmo Ventura discuss causal returns to vocational education for students at the margin with academic education and, separately, for students at the margin with quitting education.
This event is free.
Room G0355 - 59 Gordon SquareLondonWC1H 0NU
Many countries consider expanding vocational curricula in secondary education to boost skills and labour market outcomes among non-university-bound students. However, critics fear this could divert other students from more profitable academic education. We study labour market returns to vocational education in England, where until recently students chose between a vocational track, an academic track and quitting education at age 16. Identification is challenging because self-selection is strong and because students’ next-best alternatives are unknown. Against this backdrop, we leverage multiple instrumental variables to estimate margin-specific treatment effects, i.e., causal returns to vocational education for students at the margin with academic education and, separately, for students at the margin with quitting education. Identification comes from variation in distance to the nearest vocational provider conditional on distance to the nearest academic provider (and vice-versa), while controlling for granular student, school and neighbourhood characteristics.
The analysis is based on population-wide administrative education data linked to tax records. We find that the vast majority of marginal vocational students are indifferent between vocational and academic education. For them, vocational enrolment substantially decreases earnings at age 30. This earnings penalty grows with age and is due to wages, not employment. However, consistent with comparative advantage, the penalty is smaller for students with higher revealed preferences for the vocational track. For the few students at the margin with no further education, we find evidence of increased employment and earnings from vocational enrolment.
This hybrid event will be particularly useful for those interested in sociology, economics and education.
This seminar is part of a weekly series co-hosted by the Quantitative Social Science (QSS) and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS).
About the Speaker
Dr Guglielmo Ventura
Research Economist at the Centre for Economic Performance and Centre for Vocational Education Research, LSEMore about Dr Guglielmo Ventura