A transition without tradition: earnings and unemployment risks of academic versus vocational education after the Bologna process

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  • Martin Neugebauer, Freie Universität, Berlin, Tyskland
  • Felix Weiss
Academic education is generally rewarded by employers. However, the Bologna Process has introduced bachelor’s graduates to several European labor markets where tertiary graduates with ~3 years instead of ~4–6 years of training are a novelty. Do the well-known labor market advantages of higher education graduates vanish? Germany provides us with the unique possibility to compare individuals of similar training time, and fields of study, who chose between well-established vocational degrees and newly introduced short bachelor’s degrees. Based on Microcensus data, we find that bachelor’s degrees from universities are associated with higher earnings than initial vocational training degrees, and with similar earnings than further vocational degrees. However, bachelor’s degrees from universities are also related to higher risks of unemployment. Universities of applied sciences, which combine academic and practical training, offer both high earnings as well as low risks of unemployment. Overall, academic education provides advantages over vocational education, despite these structural changes.
TidsskriftZeitschrift für Soziologie
Sider (fra-til)349-363
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2018


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