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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Curdin Pfister, Simone N. Tuor Sartore and Uschi Backes-Gellner

The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical evidence for individual educational investment decisions and to investigate the relative importance of two factors, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical evidence for individual educational investment decisions and to investigate the relative importance of two factors, the type of education (vocational vs academic) and subject area (e.g. commercial or health), in determining variance in earnings.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 1,200 individuals based on the 2011 Swiss Adult Education Survey, Mincer-type earnings equations are estimated. The variance in earnings is decomposed with respect to the two factors mentioned above, which allows to quantify the relative contributions of type of education and subject area to variance in earnings.

Findings

The results of the variance decomposition show that subject area explains nearly twice the variance in earnings compared with that explained by type of education.

Social implications

As results show that earnings variance – and thereby risk – relate more to subject area than to type of education, this study suggests that for individuals caring about the risk of their educational decision the selection of a specific subject area is more relevant than the choice between vocational and academic tracks; in addition, educational policies as part of HRM policies should devote as much attention to the choice of subject areas as to vocational or academic education. This is especially important for companies or countries planning to introduce or to extend vocational education as part of their human resources strategies.

Originality/value

This study is the first to show whether earnings vary more by type of education or by subject area.

Details

Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-3983

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Uschi Backes-Gellner, Christian Rupietta and Simone N. Tuor Sartore

The purpose of this paper is to examine spillover effects across differently educated workers. For the first time, the authors consider “reverse” spillover effects, i.e…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine spillover effects across differently educated workers. For the first time, the authors consider “reverse” spillover effects, i.e. spillover effects from secondary-educated workers with dual vocational education and training (VET) to tertiary-educated workers with academic education. The authors argue that, due to structural differences in training methodology and content, secondary-educated workers with VET degrees have knowledge that tertiary academically educated workers do not have.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use data from a large employer-employee data set: the Swiss Earnings Structure Survey. The authors estimate ordinary least squares and fixed effects panel-data models to identify such “reverse” spillover effects. Moreover, the authors consider the endogenous workforce composition.

Findings

The authors find that tertiary-educated workers have higher productivity when working together with secondary-educated workers with VET degrees. The instrumental variable estimations support this finding. The functional form of the reverse spillover effect is inverted-U-shaped. This means that at first the reverse spillover effect from an additional secondary-educated worker is positive but diminishing.

Research limitations/implications

The results imply that firms need to combine different types of workers because their different kinds of knowledge produce spillover effects and thereby lead to overall higher productivity.

Originality/value

The traditional view of spillover effects assumes that tertiary-educated workers create spillover effects toward secondary-educated workers. However, the authors show that workers who differ in their type of education (academic vs vocational) may also create reverse spillover effects.

Details

Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-3983

Keywords

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