- Systems of educational specialization and labor market outcomes in Norway, Australia and the Netherlands
- International Journal of Comparative Sociology
- Volume | Issue number
- 45 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
To account for differences between systems of education of highly educated societies, we argue that the impact of academic discipline (field of study) on labor market outcomes should be central. Three modifications of earlier typologies are needed to account for cross-national differences in the transparency of skills provided by educational specialization. We should observe (1) the system of tertiary vocational programs; (2) whether a system has a bachelor's-master's structure; and (3) whether students choose minor and major subjects in college. Our analysis of Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands shows that these modifications seem useful. In the Netherlands, the impact of fields of study on wages and occupational status is much higher than in the other countries. The relatively high value of Australian qualifications compared to the Norwegian may be explained by the welfare state regulations of both countries, but this explanation is a tentative one. In Australia, eligibility to social benefits depends much more on previous work experience than in Norway, making fields of study a better indicator of labor market commitment.
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