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Do vocational high school graduates have better employment outcomes than general high school graduates?

Huzeyfe Torun (Department of Structural Economic Research, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey)
Semih Tumen (Department of Economics, TED University, Ankara, Turkey)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 14 August 2019

511

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to estimate the causal effect of vocational high school (VHS) education on employment likelihood relative to general high school (GHS) education in Turkey using Census data.

Design/methodology/approach

To address non-random selection into high school types, the authors collect construction dates of the VHSs at the town level and use various measures of VHS availability in the town by the age of 13 as instrumental variables.

Findings

The first-stage estimates suggest that the availability of VHS does not affect the overall high school graduation rates, but generates a substitution from GHS to VHS. The OLS estimates yield the result that individuals with a VHS degree are around 5 percentage points more likely to be employed compared to those with a GHS degree. When the authors use measures of VHS availability as instruments, they still find positive and statistically significant effect of VHS degree on employment likelihood relative to GHS degree. However, once they include town-level controls or town fixed effects, IV estimates get much smaller and become statistically insignificant.

Originality/value

The authorsconclude that, although VHS construction generates a substitution from GHS to VHS education, this substitution is not transformed into increased employment rates in a statistically significant way.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Bulent Anil, Murat Kirdar, Erdal Tekin, Insan Tunali, seminar participants at the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, the participants of the 2nd Human Capital Meeting in Istanbul, CBRT/Bank of Italy Workshop in Ankara and CBRT Policy Evaluation Workshop in Antalya for useful comments. The authors are particularly grateful to Francesco Pastore (the Editor) and four anonymous referees for helpful comments and constructive attitude. The views expressed here are of the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey or any other third parties. All errors are of the authors’ own.

Citation

Torun, H. and Tumen, S. (2019), "Do vocational high school graduates have better employment outcomes than general high school graduates?", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 8, pp. 1364-1388. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-11-2017-0314

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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