Education

Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Adriana Kugler, Mikko Silliman, 24 October 2020

Policymakers are growing increasingly interested in the effects of vocational training on labour market outcomes. This column uses an experimental design to test whether technical and/or soft skills can sustain the returns from vocational programmes. Using survey and administrative data, it finds large and persistent positive effects of training on employment and wages. In addition, an emphasis on technical skills increases short-term outcomes, while soft skills training improves labour market dynamics in the long run. Finally, resource constraints may be an important obstacle for obtaining such training, particularly for lower-income households.

David de la Croix, 23 October 2020

How much did nepotism in Europe's ancient universities hold back progress? David De La Croix tells Tim Phillips about his fascinating research into the emergence of modern science.

Patrick Chuard, Veronica Grassi, 12 October 2020

Equal opportunities are not only ethically desirable but also important for economic growth, and one important facet is intergenerational income mobility. Using administrative data, this column documents intergenerational income and educational mobility in Switzerland. It finds that income mobility in Switzerland is high, but education depends strongly on parental income. It goes on to ask whether the country's vocational training and education system might be the primary reason for this ‘high income, low educational mobility’ conundrum. 

Ufuk Akcigit, Jeremy Pearce, Marta Prato, 10 October 2020

For economies to innovate and grow past the COVID-19 crisis, policymakers have to understand the implications of various policies for innovation and economic growth, and take into account how people sort into professions and how potential scientists and innovators respond to policy. This column presents a comprehensive framework to study theoretically and empirically the role of education and R&D policies for boosting innovation and economic growth. It finds that policy tools in both education and R&D are complementary in developing talent, which is the key ingredient to innovation. The best mix of policies depends on how unequal society is and how urgently innovation is needed.

Graziella Bertocchi, Monica Bozzano, 05 October 2020

For most of history, women have been undereducated relative to men. While the gender gap in education has closed – and even reversed – in recent times, sharp differences still exist across levels of education and countries. Even where women have outpaced men in educational attainment, gender gaps in employment, entrepreneurship and politics persist. Women are visibly underrepresented in STEM and economics – fields typically lead to higher employability and wages. This column reviews the historical roots of the gender gap, which, despite changing conditions and incentives, continue to exert an influence through labour markets, family formation dynamics, and cultural factors. 

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