Field of study choice has far-reaching implications for individuals enrolling in university. Field of study choice is strongly linked to the subject matter graduates will specialize in, the kind of work environment they will be working in, and the returns to their skills they can expect once they enter the workforce. This paper uses unique Dutch data which demonstrates that personality measured at age 14 can be linked to field of study choice at around age 19. It can be shown that the Big Five personality traits affect field of study choice. Moreover, while personality matters less than cognitive skills, such as math ability and verbal ability, for educational attainment, the influence of personality on field of study choice is comparable to that of cognitive skills. Sorting across fields of study on the basis of personality traits is in some respects similar for women and men, although substantial differences exist.
Recently Dunne (2010) and Dronkers, van der Velden & Dunne (2011) introduced a three-level model: countries, schools, and students. They showed that school characteristics like socioeconomic composition and ethnic diversity have substantial effects on achievement levels and also affect the relation between parental background and achievement. Moreover, these school characteristics seem to mediate some of the effects of educational system characteristics found earlier (see Figure 1). However their results contradict very much the consensus about the effects of educational systems on outcomes and inequality, which are exclusively based on a two-level model: countries and students. The most important authors are Hanushek and Wößmann (2006), Schütz, Ursprung and Wößmann (2008), Wößmann, Lüdemann, Schütz and West (2009) and Hanushek and Wößmann (2012). Esser (forth coming) discussed rightfully extensively the possible explanations of the different outcomes of the Hanushek & Wössmann approach and the Dronkers, van der Velden & Dunne puzzle.
The strong wage effects related to mismatches between a worker’s education and that required in the job are usually attributed to assignment theory. This theory asserts that productivity and wages depend on the education-job match, which determines the utilization of skills. However, recent research shows that educational mismatches are only weakly related to skill utilization, which in any case fails to account for the bulk of the wage effects. Two alternative theories have been put forward to explain the observed wage effects. One points to wage setting institutions that cause wages to be based on job characteristics regardless of individual performance, the other to the heterogeneity of skills within a given educational level. Both theories explain existing results, but have never been tested directly. In this paper we show that the former theory explains observed wage effects in the public sector, and the latter theory those in the private sector.
The report presents forecasts for the Dutch labour market until 2018. It discusses future developments in labour supply and demand by educational types and levels, and by occupation. In particular, the report focusses on a number of key indicators for bottlenecks in the labour market, and the future labour market prospects of graduates.
You can find more information about the project here.
We explore the link between parental selection and criminality of children in a new context. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East Germany experienced a very large, but temporary, drop in birth rates mostly driven by economic uncertainty. We exploit this natural experiment in a differences in differences setup to first estimate that the children from these affected (smaller) cohorts are relatively much more likely to be criminally active. Using individual level data, we provide evidence that women who gave birth at this period of uncertainty were negatively selected into fertility. Further investigation of the underlying mechanisms reveals that emotional attachment and intergenerational transmission of risk attitudes play important roles in the parental selection-crime of children relationship. Finally, results for siblings support a causal interpretation of our findings.
The report (in Dutch) studies the following question: How can police officers be encouraged or facilitated to render them more inclined in the future to self-enroll for training courses – partly or fully at their own initiative, and partly or fully with the investment of their own time and/or money – and could flexibilisation of police training play a role in this process? For this study, use was made of a combination of quantitative and qualitative research: a literature study, a survey among police officers, interviews with parties involved in police training, interviews with police officers, interviews with ‘hands-on’ experts in the field of education in fields outside the police force, and a focus group of stakeholders. The survey constitutes the principal part of the study. The survey was distributed among 2,411 police officers, 1,044 of whom completed the questionnaire in part or in full. The study shows that various incentives can be used to encourage police officers to take training courses in the future as self-enroller.
In this paper we develop and test a new set of measures of skill mismatches, based on data on skill levels and skill use in the domains of literacy and numeracy from the PIAAC project. The measures we develop represent the extent of skill use relative to one’s own skill level. We test the measures by examining their relation to a number of labour market outcomes. We subsequently examine how mismatches are distributed across and within a large number of countries, and use our results to reflect on possible causes and consequences of mismatches. We find that, in general, higher skill utilization is always beneficial in terms of productivity and job satisfaction, and that “overutilization” of skills therefore points more towards a fuller use of the available human capital, rather than to a serious skill shortage. We find an asymmetry in returns between literacy and numeracy skills: although numeracy skill level appears to pay higher dividends than literacy skill level, shifts in skill utilization within skill levels have greater consequences for literacy than for numeracy. The distribution of mismatches across and within countries is broadly consistent with the expectation that skills will be used more fully under competitive market conditions with few institutional or organizational barriers. Finally, skill mismatches are only quite weakly related to educational mismatches, reflecting the heterogeneity in skill supply and demand that cross-cuts the dividing lines set by formally defined qualification levels and job titles.
In this paper, we empirically explore how the often reported relationship between overeducation and wages can best be understood. Exploiting the newly published Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) data (OECD 2013), we are able to achieve a better estimation of the classical ORU-model (Duncan and Hoffman, 1981), by controlling for heterogeneity of observable skills. Our findings suggest that 1) a considerable part of the effect of educational mismatches can be attributed to skills heterogeneity, and 2) that the extent to which skills explain educational mismatches varies by institutional contexts. These observations suggest that skills matter for explaining wage effects of education and educational mismatches, but the extent to which this is the case also depends on institutional contexts.